Seychelles Joins the Rest of the World to Commemorate World Health Day 2019, Recognizing the Critical Role Health Workers Play in Achieving Universal Health Coverage

An award ceremony for long serving employees of the Ministry of Health held in Victoria, Seychelles was the highlight of activities for World Health Day commemorated under the theme "Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, everywhere, every time"

The two longest serving employees who have both worked for the Ministry for the last 44 years were amongst the group who received the recognition in the presence of the Guest of honor, the President of the Republic, Honorable Danny Faure. Some 100 other health workers who had worked for the Ministry for 25, 30, 35 and 40 years were also rewarded for their devotion and commitment to duty with the Ministry. The ceremony was attended by high dignitaries including the Minister of Health Jean Paul Adam and the WHO Representative Dr. Teniin Gakuruh.

In his address to the long serving employees, Minister Adam thanked the health workers for their dedication and resilience. "On World Health Day today, we celebrate everyone who has made a contribution in our health system, who has made a difference through their work and determination. We also celebrate their achievements which we can see from our own results."

Minister Adam praised the long serving health workers for their roles in the construction of our society and health system working with dedication to support the provision of health services to 'everyone, everywhere and every time'. He expressed his gratitude to them as they had continued to give their best to overcome the country's current health challenges which he highlighted as including non-communicable diseases and the worrying infant mortality rate due to congenital complications.

"We are still the leader vis-à-vis developing countries but we also need to carve a path to attend higher standards possible. We have attained the goal of universal health coverage, and now we need to increase the scope and quality of services beyond this," the Minister said.

Talking of the country's efforts to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Minister Adam reiterated the fact that health is one of the sectors that impacts on every other sectors and as such health workers should continue to find ways to involve everyone in society in their daily tasks and through all settings; at the hospitals and health facilities, at the schools, in the workplaces, in the community and within the home, he noted.

In his conclusion before all long serving health employees were individually awarded with their token of appreciation, Minister Jean-Paul Adam reiterated the government's commitment to invest even more in its human resources development. He spoke for example of the increased number of Seychellois doctors who have joined the Ministry within the last two years, increased capacity building opportunities for nurses and dental staff as well as other benefits and incentives made available to the health workers such as long service remuneration.

Showing their appreciation to the long serving health staff, other health colleagues braced the ceremony with poem recital and dance and musical performances.

World Health day is commemorated globally every year on April 7th which marks the date in 1948 when the World Health Organisation was founded. This year's theme "Universal Health Coverage" - WHO's number one goal - places emphasis on the critical role of primary health care. It highlights the importance of equity in health-care services, for not only the health of individuals, but also for the health of economies and society at large. With this theme, all member states including Seychelles are called upon to spur action to make universal health care a reality for everyone. Same is believed to contribute to achieving WHO's goal of one billion more people benefitting from quality health services and financial protection by 2023 and reaching SDG target 3.8 on achieving universal health coverage by 2030. In the Seychelles, World Health Day is also celebrated as Health Workers Day.

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