La Digue island. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Victoria: President Wavel Ramkalawan of Seychelles has laid the foundation stone for a state-of-the-art hospital on La Digue, being built under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at a cost of $4 million.

The ceremony was attended by Ahmed Al Neyadi, Charge D’affaire of the UAE in Victoria, Peggy Vidot, Health Minister, Sylvestre Radegonde, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Devika Vidot, Minister of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, Rocky Uranie, Member of the National Assembly (MNA) for La Digue, as well as senior officers from the Ministry of Health and members of the La Digue medical team.

President Ramkalawan said laying the foundation stone marks a milestone in the history of La Digue, the third-most populated island. He expressed his thanks and gratitude to the UAE for funding the health facility, which he termed as ‘a gift of life and human soul’.

He added that relations with the UAE had contributed to developing various walks of life in Seychelles. He also thanked the UAE for its continuous assistance, especially for the health sector which enabled it to contain the COVID-19 repercussions on the people of Seychelles.

Ahmed Al Neyadi said the facility will be constructed as per the best international standards and will be equipped with emergency rooms, operating rooms, a dialysis unit, an x-ray unit and other services.

Al Neyadi noted that based on the high reputation of La Digue in attracting dignitaries, filmmakers and other high-ranking individuals and important people, it was imperative that the island is equipped with a state-of-the-art health facilities.

He explained that it has been a long-time dream of the people of La Digue to have their own facilities which he said will be consequently more cost-effective and less time-consuming for them.

He added that from the strong and bilateral ties that have existed for many years, the UAE is delighted to join Seychelles under the wise directives of the UAE leadership and in line with the country’s aid policies.

To conclude, Al Neyadi said the UAE was looking forward to continuously working side by side with Seychelles to witness the commencement, development and completion of this important project.

In her address, Minister of Health Peggy Vidot lauded the ceremony as a ‘’meaningful date’’ for the people of La Digue, marking a very important milestone in the history of the health service on La Digue and in Seychelles as a whole.

Minister Vidot explained that being over 70 years old, the existing hospital on the island had served its purpose.

“As we forge ahead with our vision of improving health care for the people of Seychelles and for the people of La Digue, we need a modern facility,” added Minister Vidot.