'Government is striving to make provision of universal, accessible and quality health services, free of any user cost, with emphasis on customer satisfaction'.
The Minister of Health and Quality Of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, made this statement on Friday 6 April 2018 at the Esplanade of the Emmanuel Anquetil Building, in Port Louis, where activities to mark World Health Day 2018 were launched. The WHO representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango, and other personalities, were present. Various healthcare-related activities are being organised to observe World Health Day 2018, under the theme Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere. This year's celebrations are particularly important as 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO).
In his address, the Minister underscored that access to essential health care services is a fundamental right, and, also spoke of Government's firm commitment in providing better health care facilities for the population. Mauritius, he said, is one among the few countries striving to meet the objective of universal health coverage and is well-known for extending free health care services in public health institutions.
Moreover, the Minister highlighted that the budget in Mauritius for this key sector has evolved over the years. Currently, the budget of the health sector is Rs 11.7 billion which represents some Rs 9 237 per person compared to the year 1968 when the budget was some Rs 22 million representing an average expenditure of Rs 28 per person.
Speaking about upcoming projects in the health sector, Minister Husnoo announced the possibility to recruit additional specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology to strengthen the maternity, obstetrics and gynaecology service. Other forthcoming ventures to cater to the needs of patients include: a new Cancer Centre; State-of-art Central Health Laboratory; new Eye Hospital; new Warehouse to store medicines; opening of a new ophthalmology unit at Souillac Hospital to reduce the waiting lists of patients at Moka Eye Hospital; and, implementation of a blindness prevention programme to curb the growing number of cases with ophthalmological problems.
Additionally, the expansion of the Neuro Surgical Department in Mauritius is in the pipeline with the cooperation of the Artemis Hospital of India. Also, more Medical and Nursing staff have been recruited so as to allow Health Care staff devote more time to examine their patients properly at the Hospital Outpatient Department.
As regards the recent tendency towards an increase in the number of pre-term babies, Dr Husnoo pointed out that the focus remains on lowering infant mortality. Discussions are ongoing with the Paediatric Care Foundation of Singapore for imparting training to staff in neonatology and paediatrics, he indicated.
For his part, Dr Musango stated that universal health coverage implies that quality health services are dispensed to everyone without any financial hardship and discrimination. Health coverage, he emphasised, contributes to the socio-economic development of a country. The WHO Representative affirmed that the WHO will continue to support Mauritius in the promotion of health for the well-being of the population.
Activities for World Health Day 2018
Activities comprised an exhibition at the Esplanade of Emmanuel Anquetil Building to showcase achievement in the area of attainment of Universal Health Coverage in relation to curative, preventive and rehabilitation care; and a Ceremony at Victoria Hospital to commemorate the 60 years of existence of the Central Health Laboratory Services and the associated development in terms of Universal Health Coverage for alleviating suffering.