Health minister underlines South-South Cooperation as vehicle to achieve SDGs

Health Minister Jean-Paul Adam is currently in Havana attending the third
‘Cuba Salud’ health conference which he hopes to explore means to harness
South South cooperation options so as to achieve the sustainable development
goals.

The conference from April 23-27 was held under the patronage of the Cuban
Ministry of Health and the Office of World Health Organisation (WHO)
director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom, and brought together health leaders
from developing challenges and opportunities.

On Wednesday April 25, Minister Adam joined by the Sudanese Minister for
Health, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, attended a special panel to share
perspectives of different health systems in relation to global health
challenges and opportunities. The panel was convened by Dr Pierre Buekens,
Professor and Dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine of
Tulane University in New Orleans.

Minister Adam spoke from the perspective of an African small island
developing state and also as current chair of the grouping of African ‘Sids’
Ministers of Health.

In his address, he underlined the first and greatest challenges for small
island states - human resources. Following this he thanked the Cuban
government for its support in this area through South South cooperation.

Through this link, 53 Cuban health professionals are supporting the
Seychelles health system and 15 Seychellois students undertake tertiary
education in medicine in Cuba.

Minister Adam also indicated his wish for such partnerships to be further
institutionalised and for more training opportunities to be explored. In the
context of Seychelles this involves developing capacity for the Seychelles
Hospital to become a teaching hospital.

Other areas addressed by Minister Adam include how climate change places
more pressure on Sids’ health systems and a serious need to divert resources
away from treatment and prevention, flagging the ever increasing burden of
non-communicable diseases.

He indicated the interest of Seychelles and other Sids to use Cuban
experiences of comprehensive treatment programmes for key diseases such as
diabetes. The recently launched diabetes passport initiative is a means by
which Seychelles is seeking to address both treatment and prevention among
persons and families most at risk.

However, small island states continue to face procurement limitations for
essential drugs and equipment due to their lack of economies of scale. It
was in effort to improve on this that Minister Adam suggested Sids build
mechanisms for better leverage in procurement with the support of WHO and
Latin American region through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

As the conference unfolded Minister Adam continued to engage with his Cuban
counterpart, as well as visit several institutions involved in the
partnership between Seychelles and other countries.

He was accompanied during his visit to Cuba by his special adviser, Dr Loren
Reginald and was also supported in Havana by the Chargé D’Affaires of the
Seychelles Mission, Lalatiana Accouche.

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