Mauritius: WHO Representative in Mauritius Speaking About COVID-19 During the 5th Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture 2020

Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius was invited to make a presentation on COVID-19 at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Moka on 15 July 2020 on the occasion of the 5th Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture 2020.

During his presentation, Dr L. Musango elaborated on the situation on COVID-19 at the global, African and local levels to 50 participants, social distancing requirement obliged and some 650 online participants.

"Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate with 230,000 cases reported to WHO in a single day", said Dr L. Musango, who added, "all countries are at risk. However, not all countries have been affected in the same way." WHO Representative in Mauritius pointed out that South Africa is too much affected with COVID-19 as compared to the rest of the countries in the African Region. He also indicated that WHO is following on a number of indicators to evaluate the performance of countries in fighting COVID-19. These indicators include Case Fatality Rate (CFR), Proportion of Mortality of Health Workers and Capacity Testing, among others.

The timely measures taken by the Government of Mauritius even before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, was highlighted by Dr L. Musango, who stressed the participation of all key stakeholders in the high level committee chaired by the Prime Minister, Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, as crucial in containing the spread of the virus.

"Political commitment has been one of the most important factors which led to the containment of the disease within 6 weeks", emphasized Dr L. Musango.

WHO guidance in strengthening Surveillance, Points of Entry and setting up of Quarantine centres has been considered by the Government of Mauritius while taking policy measures. WHO supported the Ministry of Health and Wellness in other areas such as Risk Communication and Community Engagement, IPC and laboratory, operations of surveillance and logistics and continuity of health care during the outbreak.

A number of relevant questions came up at the end of the presentation including progress on vaccines and medicines against COVID-19; WHO response to US withdrawing from the Organization; investigation on the origin of the virus in China; factors that contributed to South Africa being more infected than other countries and issues related to the opening of the borders in Mauritius. The interaction was very much appreciated by all participants.

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