Hon. Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth launched the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP) 2020-2024 on 12 August 2020 at the Hennessy Park Hotel, Ebene, Mauritius in the presence of eminent personalities including Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. S. Obeegadoo, Dr Hon. Kailash Kumar Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Hon A. Husnoo, Minister of Local Government and Disaster Risk Management, Hon. N. Bodha, Minister of Foreign Affairs and other Private Parliament Secretary members. Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius, Mrs Christine Umutoni, UN Resident Coordinator and representative of European Union also attended the launching ceremony.
During his key note address, Hon. P. K. Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius acknowledged the ‘able guidance of WHO’ in developing this first five year national health sector strategic plan which will enable the Government of Mauritius “to turn into reality its vision of a healthy nation”.
“This national HSSP has been aligned with the Mauritius Vision 2030 and the Government Programme 2020-2024 to give a clear direction to the health care sector”, said Hon. P. K. Jugnauth who also added that the HSSP will guide the Government to address new emerging health care challenges; which will require investment in health care delivery and acts as a driver for sustainable development.
The Prime Minister highlighted that past investment in health care is now bringing rewarding dividend as confirmed by three indicators, namely increase in life expectancy at birth, decrease in infant mortality and maternal death. He recalled that the Government of Mauritius is investing significantly to improve the health of its population before underlining the important health projects in the pipeline including the New Cancer Hospital, New Eye Hospital and the New Training Centre at the Flacq Hospital and decentralization of the health care services.
“Mauritius deployed all possible means to fight COVID-19, the lethal-multi organs disease which is affecting all countries around the world”, pointed out Hon P.K. Jugnauth. He stressed that the country registered less than 400 COVID-19 cases in all and managed bring down local transmission to zero five weeks after the first three COVID-19 cases were registered. He further underlined the need for a ‘rethink approach to pandemic preparedness”. According to the Prime Minister, NCDs which accounts for 80% of the burden of diseases remains one of the priority of the Government of Mauritius. The Prime Minister said that the increase in birth control and life expectancy have resulted in an increase in ageing population, a challenge that the country needs to address.
“The expectations of the patients in terms of quality of health care, clinical rights and rights for prevention, information and screening should be managed adequately to increase the patient’s satisfaction level and improve health outcomes”, said Hon P.K. Jugnauth.
Dr Hon. K. K. Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness, during his address, highlighted “the extensive participatory approach adopted during the development of the HSSP”. He stated that, “the views and opinions of the private and public sectors, health care service providers as well the patients have been considered through societal dialogue, an innovative means of good governance recommended by WHO.
“This realistic document has been developed with the active participation of nine working groups which reported to the steering committee”, stated the Health Minister who added that the Government of Mauritius “fully understand the country men and country women expectations for a free health care system”. The strengths and weaknesses of the present system have been assessed as well as good practices before developing the plan further added Dr Hon. K.K. Jagutpal.
Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius during his address, expressed his solidarity with the Government of Mauritius and the people of the country afflicted by the national disaster related to the wreckage of MV Wakoshio off the coast of Pointe D’Esny.
“World Health Organization stands by the side of the Government of Mauritius and its people to provide the required response and ensure a prompt recovery”, said Dr L. Musango before congratulating the Government of Mauritius and the Ministry of Health and Wellness towards undertaking this important activity of developing the Health Sector Strategy Plan.
“This plan builds on the achievements made by the Republic of Mauritius in improving the health of its population as well as on the achievement of Goal no.3 of Sustainable Development Goals”, said Dr Musango who also pointed out that the global health environment is becoming increasingly complex. He mentioned social, demographic and epidemiological transformations fed by globalization, urbanization and ageing populations as challenges of a magnitude that was not anticipated three decades ago.
Dr Musango stated his appreciation that Mauritius is continually strengthening health systems and improving health security through robust, realistic, comprehensive, coherent and well-balanced health policies, strategies and plans. He underlined the strong leadership and commitment of the Prime Minister in stepping up and working intensely with the population.
“The development of this HSSP started with a National assessment of Health Systems Challenges and Opportunities for better Non-Communicable Diseases Outcomes (NCDs) recommending key policy actions, followed up by initiating the process of Societal Dialogue and technical assessment on Primary Health care”, stressed Dr Musango.
WHO Representative acknowledged the participatory approach adopted during the whole process of developing the HSSP. He mentioned the important participation of a broad range of stakeholders ranging from collaborating ministries, bilateral and multilaterals agencies, including EU, UNAIDS, UNFPA, WHO, among others, nongovernmental organizations and civil society, to allow for a comprehensive in-depth analysis using stakeholders’ expertise and views to jointly assess the available evidence and jointly feed into policy directions set in the five year HSSP.
Dr Musango concluded by recalling that “the scope of the HSSP extends much beyond the delivery of health care and covers broad public health agenda that includes social determinants, integrated and multisectoral action, health in all policies, health emergencies with rapidly detection and response including COVID-19 response and recovery, international health regulation, (IHR), health innovation and new technologies, school health, food safety, research, medical hub and others”. He advocated for a collaborative and coordinated effort by setting up a committee to implement, monitor and evaluate the HSSP.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.