Mauritius: Public-Private Partnership - Health Minister Opens Refurbished Children's Cancer Ward 14 in Victoria Hospital

The Children's Cancer Ward 14, refurbished by Sunlife, was opened by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, this afternoon, at the Victoria Hospital, in Candos.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia, the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Sunlife, Mrs Joelle Edwards-Tonks, and other personalities were also present.

In his address, Minister Jagutpal remarked that the opening coincides with the annual commemoration of the International Childhood Cancer Day on 15 February. The refurbishment of the Children's Cancer Ward 14 project, he underlined, has been jointly undertaken by his Ministry and Sunlife. Speaking of Sunlife's seamless collaboration with the Ministry for over 15 years, Dr Jagutpal characterised this public-private partnership as pivotal for the betterment of children diagnosed with cancer such as leukaemia and lymphoma, as well as their families.

The Health Minister, moreover, indicated that the Children's Cancer Ward 14 has been refurbished in accordance with all the WHO recommendations. It is equipped with 11 patients' rooms, a playroom, a kitchen for parents, a washing machine, dryer facilities and a waiting lounge. Besides the infrastructural works and maintenance services, Sunlife will also provide for regular psychological and psychosocial support to parents and their children with the assistance of a child psychologist and a painting artist, he informed.

As for Dr Ancia, she deplored that in parts of the African region, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children is still not adequately catered for. However, in Mauritius, she affirmed, both specific treatment for childhood cancer and psychological support are provided in a safe environment. She further lauded the public-private partnership for stepping up efforts in improving the well-being of the children with cancer.

Mrs Edwards-Tonks, for her part, recalled the endeavours of the Sunlife Children Cancer Trust since its inception in 2008. She shared that an estimated Rs4 million have been invested in the refurbishment of the Children Cancer Ward and some Rs1 million have been earmarked for the provision of free transport, psychological and therapy services for this year.

It is to be noted that according to the recently published National Cancer Registry 2022, 51 new cases of cancer were detected among children aged 0 to 15 years old.

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