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Minister brings words of encouragement to students and staff on first school day

New students and their parents, those continuing their studies as well as staff of the National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS) yesterday morning received words of encouragement and support from the Minister for Health and Social Affairs Jean-Paul Adam who visited the institution on the first day of the new school year.

Minister Adam was accompanied on the visit and tour of the facilities at the institute by representatives from his two respective departments – Bella Henderson, acting principal secretary of the health department and Linda William-Melanie, principal secretary in the social affairs department.

Before visiting the facilities and interacting with staff members at the institute Minister Adam addressed the students.

The NIHSS yesterday welcomed a total of 137 students. Among these, 71 were resuming their studies in nursing, dental hygiene and environmental science, among others.

Additionally, the institute welcomed 66 newly enrolled students joining various health and social programmes on offer, including Diploma in Social Work, Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Diploma in Nursing, Diploma in Physiotherapy and Diploma in Emergency Medical Care.

Addressing the students and parents gathered for this new term at the NIHSS, Minister Adam told the students to remain committed to their studies to become the health professionals that our country and people could rely on.

Speaking to the press after the tour of the facilities at the institute, Minister Adam said the team there is doing a great job with the resources it has and he commended the health professionals for their passion and devotion.

He added that a new centre for the institute, in line with the Seychelles Hospital redevelopment plan, is expected to be ready in the next couple of years but added that the main challenge remains to get more people to train as health professionals thus the programme to give further training to health care assistants so they too can later join the nursing profession.

“It is our human resources which will make the difference in the health and social sectors. All our challenges in these sectors today are based on our capacity and ability to continue to develop and there is the urgent need for us to step up training for in-service professionals in these sectors to ensure they are updated, trained and prepared for modern challenges, to meet expectations of the people,  to continue to provide standard and quality health care as well as to always be  equipped with new skills, knowledge and ability to address new developments in their sectors,” Minister Adam said.

He added that having enough well trained health professionals to meet our country’s needs will always be a challenge because the services we provide continue to increase as the number of patients seeking care increase, as more people are living longer and as modern lifestyle diseases also continue to increase thus putting more pressure on our limited health resources.

But Minister Adam availed of the opportunity to thank those committed health professionals who are working often under pressure, difficult situation … but who remain committed to their profession for the remarkable and exceptional job they are doing.

For her part the NIHSS director Maryline Lucas noted that this year again emphasis will continue to be on raising standard and quality of the training provided, reinforce the quality assurance process, review the different courses curriculum, pursue recruitment drive and consider introducing a pre-health  programme to give an opportunity to students who do not necessarily meet entry criteria another chance to join NIHSS courses.

Noting that only 66 new students including mature ones are joining the NIHSS this year, Mrs Lucas attributed this low intake to the fact that students need very good grades in science subjects to secure entry on NIHSS courses.

“We all know that nationally there is a big challenge in this area which makes it more difficult to get students with very good science grades to enroll on our courses,” Mrs Lucas pointed out.

She however noted an increase in the number of students enrolled in social work which does not require a lot of science subjects like nursing.

“This is why we are seriously considering the pre-health programme which will give students an opportunity to improve their knowledge in science subjects as well as maths and other related subjects essential to join our courses,” Mrs Lucas stressed.

But nevertheless Mrs Lucas said that to be a committed student and subsequently a committed health professional should be something from the heart and not just training for a job but added that the team at the NIHSS will continue to strive to get more people who are interested to follow its different courses because our country needs well trained local health professionals for its increasing and more specialised health services.

She noted that the discussions with Minister Adam have been a great opportunity to discuss the institution’s needs, challenges to meet the demands for more  professional health workers and the drive to get interested people to come and enroll on the different courses among other issues.

The accompanying photos show Minister Adam interacting with staff and students during his visit at the NIHSS yesterday.

[Source: Seychelles Nation]

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