Health Minister Jagutpal calls for unified action to end STI epidemic

Mauritius: Ending the Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) epidemic calls for unified action from Government, patients, families, communities, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, the public, and international organisations.

Health Minister Jagutpal calls for unified action to end STI epidemic
Health Minister Jagutpal calls for unified action to end STI epidemic Image credit: Mauritius Facebook Page

Mauritius: Ending the Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) epidemic calls for unified action from Government, patients, families, communities, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, the public, and international organisations.

As such, enhanced coordination is of paramount importance to succeed in the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the Republic of Mauritius 2023-2027.

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The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal, made this statement today, during the official launching of the National Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the Republic of Mauritius 2023-2027, at the seat of his Ministry in Port Louis.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Mrs Anne Marie Ancia, and other personalities was also present at the launching ceremony.

In his address, Minister Jagutpal highlighted that the STI National Action Plan calls for synergy between all concerned stakeholders so as to: reduce the incidence of STIs by 90% by 2030; develop, enhance and maintain health systems to prevent the spread of STIs; and maintain zero occurrences congenital syphilis. All these objectives, he remarked, are in line with the international guidelines set by the WHO.

The Health Minister emphasised that this Action Plan has four main goals, which are the prevention of new STIs, the testing of STIs, the treatment and care of STIs, and surveillance. He further pointed out there are various types of STIs, such as HIV, Hepatitis and HPV, which are tackled in their own action plans. This Action Plan, he observed, will focus on herpes, Syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and other infections.

Speaking about the number of new cases of STIs, Dr Jagutpal underscored that some 497 cases were diagnosed at the Skin Disease Clinic of regional hospitals, including, amongst others: 363 cases of Syphilis, 74 cases of Gonococcal infections, 55 cases of Venereal Warts; and four Herpes Simplex cases. These figures, he cautioned, are, however, underestimated as STIs are silent and asymptomatic in nature. According to him, STIs often lead to delays in diagnosis and are major causes of infertility, cervical cancer, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.

Furthermore, Dr Jagutpal affirmed that his Ministry would soon launch the National HPV Immunisation campaign, targeting more than 100,000 children aged nine to 15 years old for the first time in our country.

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As for Dr Ancia, she underlined that the launching comes at an opportune time so as to address the problem of STIs. She indicated that nowadays, some countries have been able to eliminate SITs such as Syphilis, and this proves that eradicating numerous SITs is a realistic task.

The WHO Representative also expressed confidence that the National Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of SITs in the Republic of Mauritius 2023-2027 will address: both STIs as well as HIV/AIDS, stigmatisation, and issues of treatment of detected STI cases.

It is recalled that some 357 million new STI infections occur at the global level on a yearly basis, out of which more than 240 million cases are curable.