Mauritius launched the Maternal Child Health Handbook to improve Mother and Child Health
Port Louis. The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Honorable Kailash Kumar Jagutpal launched the Maternal Child Health (MCH) handbook on 24 February 2021 at the Caudan Arts Centre, Port Louis, in the presence of Director General Health Services, Regional Health Directors, the Permanent Secretary and Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius. This important tool will allow for systematic recording of personal health data for the mother during pregnancy and for the child since birth up to until the age of 5.
The production of this handbook is one of the recommendations of the National Roadmap Framework for Maternal and Child Health launched last year by the country with two important goals. First, to reduce morbidity and mortality among children under five years to one digit in the next 5 years and secondly, to reduce perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality rate. The MCH handbook, being a good source of information and knowledge on care during pregnancy and early childhood, will also guide healthcare professionals in dispensing the appropriate care to mothers and babies. 12000 copies of the MCH Handbook produced in close collaboration with WHO will be distributed to mothers attending the antenatal clinics across the island.
“It is a priority of my Ministry to upgrade public health services and boost awareness and adopt strategies to address issues related to maternal and child health,” said Dr Hon. K. K. Jagutpal, who added, “Mauritius is among the 50 countries that have implemented this recommendation of WHO.”
“The MCH handbook provides precious information on nutrition, the importance of rest during pregnancy and breast feeding to mothers. It will not only provide health education but help to create ownership with mothers and fathers while promoting the right behaviours during pregnancy,” said the Minister of Health and Wellness.
“With the ageing population in Mauritius, we need to address the increasing number of live births and revert the tendency so that our newborns come in this world in perfect health and with better chance at life,” said Dr Hon. K. K. Jagutpal. The neonatal intensive care units at the regional hospitals have been upgraded and two hundred of nurses and medical officers have been trained in view of improving neonatal care in the public health service.
Dr (Mrs) Rajeshwari Gopaul, SRH coordinator at the Ministry of Health and Wellness spoke of the “joy and excitement in giving birth to this important handbook with the collective efforts of the whole team.” She explained how the different health recording cards have been integrated into one powerful instrument to improve maternal and child health.
Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius, congratulated the Ministry for this joint effort in producing this important data collection tool which will improve communications between health professionals and the mothers. He emphasized the WHO recommendation to promote effective communication and continuity of care between the mother and the health care provider.
“Most of the maternal deaths are preventable. The increasing number of pregnant women with diabetes and hypertension during the past five years is not improving the situation in Mauritius. Obesity also increases the risks of complications during pregnancy and the likelihood of having still births is greater”, said Dr L. Musango
“WHO is committed to support Mauritius in addressing inequalities in access to and quality of reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care service and ensuring universal health coverage for comprehensive reproductive, maternal, and newborn health care”, said Dr L. Musango.
The WHO Representative emphasized the importance of making each stage of pregnancy a positive experience and in ensuring women and babies reach their full potential for health and well-being - considering the uniqueness of each pregnancy and birth.
WHO is working with the country to address all causes of maternal mortality, reproductive and maternal morbidities, and related disabilities and strengthen the health systems to collect high quality data in order to respond to the needs and priorities of women and girls and ensure accountability in order to improve quality of care and equity.
Dr L. Musango stated his appreciation for all the efforts that are being done by the Republic of Mauritius to promote the health and wellbeing of mothers and children and reassured the Ministry of WHO’s continuous support from the three levels of the organization: local, regional and Head Quarters in promoting health and saving lives in the country.
At the end of the launching ceremony, Dr Hon K. K. Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness and Dr L. Musango, WHO Representative handed over copies of the maternal and child health handbook to five expectant mothers and the Regional Health Directors.