Seychelles on alert for Ebola cases

Health: Seychelles on alert for Ebola cases




Press release 24.05.2018

The Ministry of Health said there will be certain areas at Anse Royale Hospital that will be converted into an isolation centre - if the country ever records a case of Ebola. This precautionary measure will be implemented in the unfortunate event that a case of Ebola is recorded or even suspected in the country, despite Anse Royale being the second largest district on Mahé.

24.05.2018

Author:
Karl Schnürch

Anse Royale Hospital, originally given to the Seychelles by the Chinese, is located in the centre of the southern Mahé district, once called the country's second city. The medical centre is surrounded by banks, the University of Seychelles, restaurants, supermarkets - it is the busiest place in Anse Royale.

Recently, there have been reports of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So far, the Congolese Ministry of Health has announced the confirmation of 11 previously suspected cases of Ebola and two more deaths, bringing the total number of cases, including 25 deaths, to 45. Of the cases, 14 are confirmed, 10 suspected, and 21 are likely to have the virus. All the deaths so far have occurred in Bikoro, a rural area about 150 km from Mbandaka, a town that has again recorded three cases of the virus.

Despite the World Health Organisation's claim that the cases in Congo were recorded in rural areas, making them more containable, the Seychelles Ministry of Health, as part of its preparedness initiative, conducted a field visit with some of its officials to contain the virus should it ever land on our shores.

"If this happens and we have one or two cases that we need to investigate, we will secure that area and move all the patients who have come to the centre to other facilities; we don't want to take the risk of other people coming into contact with those patients," said Seychelles Hospital Director Dr Kenneth Henriette.

"Everything lies in the centre of the Population." I am worried that the authorities have decided to use Anse Royale as an isolation centre; imagine the Congolese doing their utmost to leave the virus in far-flung rural areas while we use it here in Seychelles in the middle of a densely populated area," said one Anse Royale resident.

Considering that the last time the local health authority had to deal with the threat of such a virus was in Seychelles, this time there is a collective pooling of resources within the field to effectively address the problem.

"We are not only preparing the site, but also our staff, the information we need to provide to the public and the purchase of costly protective equipment - it is a multidisciplinary exercise involving doctors, nurses and nursing assistants, among others, to form an effective team to deal with this issue," he added.

In the recent past, the Ministry of Health had converted other areas into isolation centres for those suspected of being carriers of the plague from Madagascar.

Contrary to their names, the isolation centres were usually built in densely populated areas of the island, such as Perseverance.

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