Honorable Dr Kailesh Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness
Mrs Allagapen, Senior Chief Executive, Ministry of Health and Wellness
Mr Gérard Bussier, Deputy Financial Secretary
Dr Musango, Representative of World Health Organisation
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am pleased to be here with you today for the launch of the national guidelines for major communicable diseases. The EU Ambassador being in Seychelles on mission, I am currently representing him.
Following the outbreak of the COVID pandemic last year, the European Union responded by supporting the Government of Mauritius to strengthen the public health systems in order to react to pandemics. This was done with a health budget support programme of 7.80 million euros, which today represents approximately 390 million rupees. A first disbursement of 3.9 million euros, i.e. about 195 million rupees, was effected in December 2020.
The programme has three main axis:
Detect: the programme helps to enhance the testing capacity for COVID 19 and other pandemics
Treat: the programme will provide medical equipment in order to treat COVID cases and other serious diseases
Strengthen: train health care frontliners in management of pandemics and provide the necessary protocols for dealing with pandemics such as the COVID.
Today we are gathered for this third strand of the programme, namely the development of protocols and guidelines for the health care professionals. This is one of the key result areas of the budget support programme.
The capacity of health systems to deliver health services and meet the changing demands of care strongly depends on the availability of a workforce with the right skills and flexibility. Health systems that support consistent investment in continuous professional development through guidelines and protocols, are better equipped to develop innovative and integrated solutions to respond to the major challenges such as pandemics like the COVID 19.
I am therefore very pleased that the Ministry of Health has finalised and approved national guidelines for major communicable diseases. It will be a key tool for health professionals to be consistent and coherent in delivery of services, and will serve to better equip them to respond to major pandemics.
The presence of the Hon Minister of Health for the launch of these guidelines is testimony to his personal commitment to enhanced capacity of health care workers to infection control. These guidelines will now be disseminated to hospitals and health care centres, and health care professionals will be trained on these, so as to protect the health personnel and population.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Mauritian authorities, in particular the health services, have done a remarkable work for the management of the COVID pandemic since the detection of the first case in March 2020. This management allowed Mauritius to move out of two lockdowns. Today considerable progress has been made for the return to the new normal. I am happy that borders opened on 1 October, as I could travel back to Mauritius last Saturday without a quarantine on arrival.
The budget support modality is very convenient to countries like Mauritius, where there is a clear vision and strategy of the Government. The funds provided by the European Union are disbursed directly into the National Treasury and therefore the Government is free to use the funds according to its developmental priorities. However, funds can only be disbursed by the European Union if the joint results, contained in key performance indicators agreed jointly between European Union and the Government are fully achieved. We are here talking about COVID testing capacity, ICU beds, training of health personnel on infection control, and dissemination of guidelines for major communicable diseases.
I therefore encourage the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Ministry of Finance to maintain its efforts to achieve the key performance indicators, for which a deadline of 31 December 2021 has been set.
Before ending I would like to thank the Hon Minister Jagutpal and his whole team for his support and collaboration for the implementation of the budget support programme. My thanks also go to Mr Bussier and team from the Ministry of Finance, who are also closely monitoring the programme.
I thank you for your attention.