Seychelles gets medical supplies from India |16 April 2020
Seychelles yesterday received 4 tonnes of essential medicines gifted by the government of India, of which includes hydroxychloroquine tablets (HCQ), a medicine touted to be effective against COVID-19.
The country’s first consignment of medical supplies from India reached the country yesterday afternoon onboard an Air India Boeing 787 special chartered flight from New Delhi.
High commissioner of India to Seychelles, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, officially handed over the consignment to secretary of state Barry Faure during a brief ceremony which respected the principles of social distancing.
According to a press release from the high commission of India, the delivery “is a special arrangement made in view of the special relations with Seychelles in order to enable the supply of these medicines despite the restrictions in place due to the lockdown”.
Despite its own domestic challenges, the Indian government notes that it remains committed to assisting its friends and partners as per its India’s Neighbourhood First and Seychelles’ India First policies.
The press release from the high commission of India further states the supply of HCQ would assist Seychelles in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
It states that the drug, usually used to treat malaria, is now being used to treat COVID-19 patients with effective and positive outcomes, adding that health authorities across the world have recommended the use of HCQ.
However, although the World Health Organisation (WHO) has acknowledged that it is actively following the ongoing clinical trials of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19, WHO notes that there is insufficient data to confirm the efficacy of these drugs in either treating COVID-19 patients or in preventing people from contracting the virus.
Nonetheless this has not stopped countries from requesting for HCQs and given the large demand received, India’s trade regulator late last month placed restrictions on its exportation.
Seychelles was only able to receive the drug due to a special exemption, the press release from the high commission explained.
India is the biggest manufacturer of the anti-malarial drug HCQ, producing around 70% of the world’s supply, and the country is gearing to increase its HCQ manufacturing capacity to meet local and international demands.
The press release goes on to add that other medicines included in the consignment to Seychelles are various “life-saving medicines for COVID-19 complications which shall be a game changer for the treatment of the pandemic in Seychelles”.
India has been providing consistent assistance to Seychelles’ health sector during recent years as demonstrated through donations of medical equipment worth US $8.5 million and 10 ambulances in 2018 as well as the Health Information System (HIS) and specialty hospital projects which are still in progress.
The accompanying photos taken by our photographer Joena Meme show the unloading of the medical supplies yesterday at the airport.
Compiled by Elsie Pointe