Signing of the Programme Budget 2022-2023 by Health Minister and WHO Representative
Port Louis. 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, Director 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 country has successfully addressed the various challenges related to COVID-19. Mauritius has one of the best vaccine coverage in the African continent and is at par with developed countries,” said Dr Hon. Jagutpal. Even though resources were fully mobilized in the national COVID-19 response, the country has continuously ensured continuity of care as well as improving the infrastructure. New specialized services have also been introduced as well as training of health staff while the treatment capacity and protocols have also greatly improved.
This Biennial Programme budget 2022–2023 comes at an exceptional time for WHO, after two years into the grip of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic where countries are still facing health, social and economic consequences on an unprecedented scale.
WHO has aligned this programme budget with the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (2020-2024) which is also aligned with the 13th WHO General Programme of Work.
The key priority activities for the country remain the implementation of the annual operation plan of the Health Sector Strategic Plan 2020-2024 as well as its monitoring and evaluation; the elaboration of the HIV strategic plan; the elaboration of the National Health security plan based on the recommendations of the International Health Regulations External Evaluation; the elaboration of the Integrated NCD Action Plan and the strengthening the health component of the National Adaptation Plan (HNAP) for Health and Climate Change. He added areas which need special focus such as reducing financial hardship faced by the population despite the availability of free health care services across the island; strengthening of national response to address health emergencies; reducing the high burden of NCDs and high prevalence of risk factors and analysis of data to inform policy decisions.
“COVID-19 has given the country the opportunity to strengthen its national health system through the construction of COVID-19 testing centres at regional level,” said Dr L. Musango. He further added, “we also documented the country’s response to COVID-19 through the elaboration of the Intra Action Review and the lessons learnt is helping to improve national COVID-19 response. The country’s best practices have been shared with other countries in the region.”
The commitment of the WHO at the level of the country office, regional office and the Headquarters to support the country was reiterated by the WHO Representative who concluded that further funding will be mobilized to support the country and the three levels of the Organization stay available for any eventual technical support request.