Port Louis, 17 November 2022. The Honourable Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr kailash Kumar Jagutpal launched Health Promotion Clubs in the Public Service on 14 November 2022 to mark the World Diabetes Day 2022 in Mauritius. The Health Promotion Clubs aim at promoting a healthy lifestyle among the public officers through regular practice of physical activity, talks and awareness campaigns on health issues, especially NCD risk factors and regular NCD screening programme. Eminent personalities including the Minister of Public Service, Administrative and Institutional Reforms, Honourable Mr Teeruthraj Hurdoyal and the newly arrived World Health Organization (WHO) Representative, Dr Anne Marie Ancia attended the event. High officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, representatives of other ministries and numerous public officers were also present.
“Diabetes is a silent killer. It affects a huge proportion of the population in Mauritius,” said Dr K. Jagutpal, Health Minister in his address. He expressed concern on the growing number of prediabetes in the population as well as the prevalence of uncontrolled diabetes. The risks of having complications are higher among the uncontrolled diabetes said Dr Hon. Jagutpal.
“You need to know yourself. That is in terms of your family history as heredity is a non-modifiable factor for noncommunicable diseases”, added Dr K. Jagutpal. He urged public officers to take advantage of the facilities that are being put at their disposal at their workplace for regular practice of physical activity to prevent diabetes and other NCDs.
“You need to invest more in your health and you have to work hard to make this behaviour of practicising regular physical activity a habit”, further added the Health Minister.
The Health Minister emphasized on this year’s theme "Education to protect tomorrow", and the need for better access to quality diabetes education for health professionals and people living with diabetes.
The last NCD survey conducted in 2021 shows around 20% of the overall population in Mauritius has diabetes. The prevalence of uncontrolled diabetes is a real concern as it increases the risk of severe health complications such as heart diseases, renal impairment, eyes problems and damaged arteries. Pre-diabetes and obesity are major precursors of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and therefore, promoting a healthy lifestyle at an early age will help to reverse the situation. The support and technical assistance provided by the World Health Organization was duly acknowledged by Dr Hon. K. Jagutpal.
“To protect myself against Covid-19,” said little Rita aged 9 years who seems to understand well why she received the first dose of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine at her school. Rita’s mother gave her written consent after receiving information about the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years from the school. At home, we have all been fully vaccinated. We did our booster dose. Now, it is time for our children also to get protected against Covid-19, she said.
Mauritius launched its national vaccination campaign for children, aged 5 to 11 years, against Covid-19 on May 23 at the Petit Verger Government School in the presence of the Hon. Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science & Technology; Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Hon Kailesh Kumar Jagutpal; the British High Commissioner, Ms Charlotte Pierre; the WHO Representative a.i., Dr Indrajit Hazarika and other eminent personalities. The vaccination of the children aged 5 to 11 years is a milestone in the fight against COVID-19 in Mauritius and this has been made possible with the donation of pediatric Pfizer vaccines from the British Government.
This campaign concerns children attending public and private schools as well as 'Special Needs Schools'. With parents’ consent, the children from 307 educational institutions will received two doses of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine within 4 to 8 weeks.
Port Louis. The findings of two tobacco surveys conducted to explore compliance of nightclubs to the smoke-free regulations and the availability of electronic cigarettes and waterpipes in Mauritius were disseminated during a half-day workshop held in Quatre Bornes on 17 March 2022. VISA collaborated with the University of Mauritius and the World Health Organization in this research initiative. The Honorary President of VISA, Mrs Veronique Leclezio, the President of VISA, Mr Poubarlanaden Appavoo, and Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative launched the reports in the presence of Mr Deowan Mohee, an active member of the Association, Dr Marie Chan Sun, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Mauritius and Dr Balkrish Beedassy, representing the Minister of Health and Wellness.
Dr B. Beedassy in his address, recalled “smoking is a major modifiable risk factor to non-communicable diseases” and enumerated the tobacco control measures successfully implemented in the country to protect the population.
The Health Minister, Dr the Hon. Kailash Kumar Jagutpal and the WHO Representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango signed the approved Programme Budget for 2022-2023 during an official ceremony held on 16 March 2022 in the presence of the Senior Chief Executive, Directors Health Services and other administrative and technical cadre of the Ministry and the WHO country office team. WHO is providing a total financial envelope of 100 million Mauritian rupees equivalent to USD 2.25 million to support the country for the period 2022-2023.
Dr the Hon. K. K. Jagutpal, in his address, said that the signature of the documents will officialize the excellent working relationship between the WHO and the Ministry. He emphasized the financial cost of implementing projects and strategies and appreciate the sharing of the financial responsibility by the Ministry of Health and Wellness through its yearly assesses contribution and WHO biennium Programme Budget.
The Health Minister enumerated the seven priority areas which the Ministry of Health and Wellness will act upon with an approved budget of more than USD 2,2 million from the WHO Regional Office for Africa. Actions will be geared towards improving access to quality health service; improving access to essential medicines, vaccines and diagnostics for primary health care; improving the country’s preparedness regarding the detection and response to health emergencies; building capacity to promote a healthy environment for the citizens with enhanced focus on prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases; strengthening the collection and interpretation of medical data; polio eradication; and elimination of tropical diseases.
Dr the Hon. Jagutpal lauded the WHO’s support, especially in the management of the COVID-19 situation. He acknowledged WHO assistance in the procurement of vaccines through the COVAX Facility, the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, capacity building of health personnel, and the technical support provided by WHO experts to assist the country in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Health Minister, Hon. Kailash Kumar Jagutpal inaugurated a new Haemodialysis Unit at the New Souillac on 10 March 2022 in the presence of the WHO Representative, Dr Laurent Musango and other personalities to mark World Kidney Day in Mauritius. This new Unit comprising 22 haemodialysis machines has the capacity to accommodate around 150 patients and aims at decentralizing further the treatment of patients suffering from kidney disease.
Some 1,500 patients in Mauritius undergo dialysis treatment in the five Regional Hospitals, the New Souillac Hospital, the Long Mountain Hospital, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Rodrigues. The Ministry of Health and Wellness also collaborates with private clinics to accommodate more patients with the increasing number of patients requiring dialysis treatment.
In his address, Dr Hon. Jagutpal emphasized the importance of sensitizing the population on kidney diseases and promoting a healthy lifestyle. The Health Minister explained that the Government disbursed some Rs 150 million to enable 250 patients to undergo dialysis treatment in private clinics. He urged the population to take advantage of the numerous sports facilities put at their disposal across the country.
Dr Laurent Musango, the WHO Representative in Mauritius highlighted, “the high NCD burden in Mauritius and the disastrous impact of uncontrolled diabetes on the kidney function.” He added that many of the NCDs when uncontrolled can impact severely on kidney function.
Until recently, Cindy Frederic was among the less than 100 000 Mauritian adults still unvaccinated against COVID-19. Living with a COVID-19 comorbidity, she was anxious about how the vaccine might affect her health.
P. Louis. Honorable Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth launched the national population-based survey report among people who use drugs on 10 February 2022 at the Sir H. Vaghjee Hall in Port Louis. Her Excellency Mrs Christine Umutoni, UN Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles; WHO Representative, Dr Laurent Musango; Dr S. Appadoo, Coordinator, National Drug Secretariat and other personalities attended the official ceremony.
The World Health Organization and the UNRC office collaborated with the national authorities in addressing the lack of evidence-based information on drug use at the national level through the recruitment of an international expert to conduct the survey as well as several Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance Surveys among drug users, from December 2020 to May 2021.
The Prime Minister said that the Government alone cannot fight the drug war and the magnitude of the drug problem requires all stakeholders to engage in collaborative platforms to ensure that policies and strategies are implemented based on evidence-based information.
A new COVID-19 Testing Centre is operational at Dr Yves Cantin Community Hospital in Black River since last year to enable the people living in the West part of the island to benefit from appropriate screening for COVID-19. The newly launched COVID-19 Testing Centre has a well-equipped isolation ward to accommodate positive COVID-19 patients with symptoms while waiting for the transfer to Regional Hospitals.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Hon K. K. Jagatpul participated in the soft opening of the Centre in the presence of the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Hon. A. Ganoo; the World Health Organization Representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango and other personalities on 18 December 2021.
Mauritius marked World AIDS Day 2021 on 01 December 2021 at the Yves Cantin community hospital, Black River under the theme “End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemic”. This year’s theme is of utmost importance at a point in time where the COVID-19 pandemic has further widened inequalities among the world populations.
The HIV/AIDS national campaign was launched by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Hon Kailesh Kumar Jagutpal in the presence of the WHO Representative, Dr Laurent Musango, the National HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Dr Mungala Devi Soyjauda, Mrs S. Kalasapatan-Chellen, Ag Deputy Permanent Secretary, Dr A. Dinassing, Director Public Health and other personalities.