Africa-Press – Seychelles. A new training institute for health professionals will soon replace the dilapidated former one at Hemitage, Mont Fleuri, now that the Ministry of Health has signed an agreement with Vijay Patel Seychelles Ltd to restore the historic building but with additional space for more classes and other facilities.
The signing between health minister Peggy Vidot and Vijay Patel took place yesterday morning in the ruins of the former nurses home and the National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS).
Vijay Patel Seychelles Ltd will rebuild the old institute restoring it to its former state and donating it to the government and people of Seychelles as a gift.
Work is expected to start in two weeks’ time and the project is expected to be completed in 18 months.
President Wavel Ramkalawan, Vice-President Ahmed Afif, key officials from the health ministry, the Public Health Authority and the NIHSS management as well as members of Vijay Patel Seychelles Ltd were present to witness the historic moment.
Speaking before the signing Mr Patel said it is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to participate in a project of national importance.
He said the country needs good educational institutions and nursing is one of them.
Mr Patel remarked that the important role of nurses was highlighted and felt more than ever by everybody when the Covid-19 pandemic started.
“I therefore think it is the right time that we have better facilities to benefit existing and new nurses,” Mr Patel said, noting that it has beenseveral months since Vijay Patel Seychelles Ltd. and the government, under the leadership of President Ramkalawan, have been discussing the renovation of this magnificent building.
“Throughout the discussion, we paid particular attention to the history of this place and to its significance in the area of Hermitage and Mont Fleuri and Seychelles. This building is not just any building. It houses countless memories, dreams come and gone and other historical accounts. Several legendary figures of the health system have lived here, studied here or taught here,” Minister Vidot reminded everyone present, noting that she herself has very fond memories of this building where she started her career as a nurse and later a nurse tutor.
“Many will find immense gratification in the knowledge that this phoenix will now rise from its ashes and live on to continue writing and shaping the history of health in Seychelles.
“This new National Institute of Health and Social Studies will usher in a new era of health development in Seychelles,” Minister Vidot said.
“We will focus on programmes that support people to lead healthy lifestyles in preference to programmes that come in late in the last minute to try to save the day. We will tackle the risk factors that are responsible for the non-communicable diseases, the emerging communicable diseases and the social illness head-on through a steadfast ‘all of government and all of society approach’,” the minister said.
Minister Vidot stressed that at the Ministry of Health they place a lot of emphasis on training for health professionals and having a proper training institution for that was a priority.
“Being able to rebuild and breathe new life into the dilapidated building which has traditionally been the place where different groups of health professionals were trained, has great significance and it brings much joy and pride for us,” Minister Vidot added.
It is to be recalled that the building, formerly called the Princess Elizabeth Nurses Home, was officially opened on August 12, 1950, almost 72 years ago by his Excellency the Governor Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke.
Minister Vidot went on to explain that after being used as a nurses’ home for many years, the building was eventually used as a training institute for different health professionals.
“I believe it is important that we preserve this important aspect of our history. The way the building has been built, its facade and everything about it forms part of our history and should as much as possible be kept as it is. Many people have lived, worked, been trained and have taught others here and have left their mark in the development of our country’s health sector, the more reason to preserve this part of our history,” said Minister Vidot.
She said the dilapidated building will be reconstructed in the same design as it is but replacing its eroding structure made of crushed coral and leaving the facade as it is. An additional floor will be added to create space for more classrooms while the partitioning will be redesigned to address current needs.
Minister Vidot, on behalf of the government and people of Seychelles, expressed heartfelt gratitude to Mr Patel and his company for this immense support to the Ministry of Health and the government.
“Mr Vijay Patel is a visionary leader not just in the history of construction in Seychelles but also in education. This support to the Ministry of Health is another indelible mark that you are now etching into the health and education history of our nation,” said Minister Vidot.
She also thanked President Ramkalawan and VP Afif for making time to be present at the signing.
“Your presence is a testament of the immense importance that you personally attach to this project and to the development of our health professionals. Your presence is a clear signal that no Covid-19 pandemic or any other setback can bend the resolve of your government to move the education of our health professionals and the health of our nation forward,” said Minister Vidot.