It is truly a pleasure and an honour to be here and to share this moment with you as you commemorate, for the first time in Seychelles, the International Allied Health Professionals Day, with a series of exciting activities, lasting well over one week. Thank you for inviting us.
This year marks only 17 years since the first allied Health Professionals Council Act came into being, in 2006 in Seychelles. Only 11 years since the first Allied Health Professionals Council was appointed, in 2012 and only 9 years since the Allied Health Professionals’ Council registered the first allied health professionals, in 2014.
Yet the journey, the Allied Health Professionals Council has made in this very short time has been extraordinary. The council has indeed done exceptional work to put the various allied health professions in good regulatory order, establishing standards and protocols, establishing complaints procedures and undertaking disciplinary processes – all in the interest of improving patient care, improving care outcome and improving the patient experience.
I have had the privilege to serve on the Allied Health Professional Council when I was Chief Medical Officer. And I have seen, firsthand, the passion and the persistence with which the Council does its work.
Your website speaks for itself. It is a pleasure to visit and to see the volume and the scope of the exacting professional work that has taken place. Your Facebook page is also a gem, showing clearly that as a council and as professionals you understand the value of modern communication.
Allied health professionals are the real backbone of the health system. Both in the public sector and the private sector, active allied health professionals are greater in number than doctors, dentists, nurses or midwives. Many of you work in the background, out of sight and often out of mind, but the work you do is exceptionally important. You bring to health care, knowledge and skills that nobody else possesses. Without you, prevention, diagnosis, care, rehabilitation and recovery are not possible. Like stars in the sky, you are everywhere. You work in primary health care, you work in hospitals, you work in the community and in the homes. You even work outside of the health sector – in education, in industries and many other fields.
It is truly remarkable how allied health professionals put emphasis on learning. Today at least three, perhaps even more, allied professionals have already earned their PhDs and I am sure there many others following on this path.
All these fall very much in line with our National Strategic Plan which focuses on improving health care quality and on continuous professional development.
Your actions in general, and this event in particular, are built on the principle that you are and we all are, stronger together. Your work and all our works can only bring about better patient outcomes if we work together towards the common objective – which is the wellbeing of our people and our nation. We focus first on prevention, then on treatment and care, then on rehabilitation. We seek to continuously elevate the quality of what we do. The right skills for the right patient at the right time and in the right place.
Where the allied health professionals’ council and allied health professionals have been particularly successful, in my view, has been in the area of continuous professional development. You have focused on all allied health professionals and on all areas of Seychelles, making sure that every single allied professional has a good bite at the cake. Without hesitation, I can safely say that the Allied Health Professional Council is the best-run council of all the professional councils in Seychelles.
Today, once again you are going to look deeply into and across your various professions. You are going to discuss how and why allied health professions matter. You are going to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the synergy that exist among yourselves and the various other allied and non-allied cadres. You are going to make sound and profound proposals to improve team work in a multidisciplinary care environment. You are also going to look at the gaps, if any, that exist between the education and training that you received and the realities on the ground in your various employment settings and how these gaps can be bridged.
The Ministry of Health admires and revels in the emphasis you place on this kind of reflective practice and continuous professional development. Thank you for staying together. Thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for your professionalism. The management is with you and will support you all the way.
I thank you.
PS Bernard Valentin