Dr Bhoshan Ori, Director Health Services of the Ministry of Health and Wellness launched the National Roadmap Framework to Improve Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, developed in collaboration with WHO, at the Gold Crest Hotel in Quatre Bornes on 03 February 2020.
The Roadmap aims at promoting a woman-centred as well as an evidence-based approach. Prior to the development of the Roadmap, the Ministry of Health and Wellness conducted an intensive consultation with stakeholders to facilitate implementation.
Dr B. Ori, Director Health Services, during the official launching of the Roadmap Framework pointed out that this important document will enable Mauritius to move a step ahead in improving maternal, new born and child health. The implementation of the strategies developed in the National framework will contribute in reducing morbidity and mortality among children less than 5 years to one digit in the next 5 year and reduce perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality rate.
Since early 2019, a steering committee was set up under the chairmanship of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Wellness to develop the Roadmap. In addition, a technical working group, comprising key health professionals working in the areas of gynaecology, paediatric, demography and statistics, were established to conduct a situational analysis and developed strategies to address the gaps identified.
The fluctuation of maternal mortality between 0.33 per 1000 live births and 0.74 during the ten-year period; the low fertility rate which is below replacement; the high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension among pregnant women; the high prevalence of obesity and alcohol and tobacco smoking and the low average of exclusive breastfeeding were identified as the main gaps and unmet needs.
As remedial actions, the steering committee developed new strategies and concepts to address the gaps identified. These include preconception care, coordination and continuity of care for pregnant women, data collection and analysis of maternity services and development of necessary tools and capacity to improve the health of maternal, neonates and children and setting up of Intensive Care Unit in the five regional hospitals to improve the health of neonates.
Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius, during his speech, highlighted that the development of the Roadmap on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health is in line with Goal 3 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aims at ending preventable deaths of newborns and under-5 children by 2030. He added, “all countries should aim at reducing newborn mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1 000 live births in every country and under-five mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births in every country. Mauritius like other countries needs to accelerate progress to achieve the SDG target on under-five mortality by 2030.”
“WHO is providing necessary tools and guidance to countries, among which we have the WHO international child growth standards, which provide benchmarks to compare children's nutritional status within and across countries and regions’’, said Dr Musango.
The WHO Representative in Mauritius reiterated the commitment of WHO at the three levels of the World Health Organization that is country, regional and global in continuously supporting Mauritius in its efforts to improve Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
Mauritius is being supported by WHO for development of its Nutrition Information System concerning children zero to less than five. The desk review conducted during the scoping mission in 2018 highlighted some key strengths of the current Nutrition Information System including the provision for all children under the age of 5 years to be assessed and their measurements monitored and plotted on their growth charts. However, the lack of consistency in the growth monitoring system was identified as a weakness. A training of facilitators on child growth assessment and WHO child growth standards, will be held in the second week of February this year in Mauritius to act as mitigation.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).