Mauritius: A three-day High-Level Dialogue focusing on National Health Financing and regrouping around 100 local and international participants opened this morning in the presence of the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, at the Maritim Resort and Spa, Balaclava.
Also present were the Director of Health and Humanitarian Affairs of the African Union (AU), Professor Julio Rakotonirina; the Ambassador of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) – New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Narjes Dridi; and the Director of Social and Common Development of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Dduzile Simelane.
The event, an initiative of the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the AU, SADC, AUDA and the Global Fund, has as its objective to provide a platform for public and private stakeholders to discuss predominant health issues, reflect on the ambitious health targets set by the SADC, and promote the achievement of universal health coverage.
In his address, Minister Jagutpal underscored that the health and wellness of the citizens was a top priority for the Government. He indicated that Mauritius, a Member State of the AU, pledged to increase domestic resources for health and improve the health sector’s efficiency, equity and governance.
To this end, he emphasised that public investments had been sustained for the provision of free universal access to quality healthcare services during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Government,” he stated, “also made major strides in investing in infrastructure and equipment to better respond to the population’s needs.”
The Minister observed that the health sector was at a crossroads whereby it was expected to take additional strategic directions for subsequent financial resources and a more adapted and proficient workforce to meet the rising needs of the population. Small Island Developing States like Mauritius face acute and existential health and development threats in terms of climate change, non-communicable diseases, and emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases such as COVID-19.
“It is, therefore a must to reflect on new reforms for an improved and efficient spending on health services and greater investment in the health system“, he stated, adding that it was important to think about how public funds were pooled and used to purchase health services.
Minister Jagutpal mentioned that the event brought together the public sector, the civil society, the private sector, technical partners, and development partners to plan domestic health financing reform in Mauritius.
“Since health systems had a pluralistic nature with multi-sectoral involvement,” he remarked, “it is vital to unlock the potential of each stakeholder to address growing health challenges, healthcare financing constraints, keep pace with new health technologies, and implement the strategic action plans for a better and resilient future in line with Government Vision 2030.”
For his part, Professor Rakotonirina highlighted that financing was a key pillar in the health sector that required greater attention. “It is high time to realise the significant role of domestic financing in the health sector to improve efficiency and quality of healthcare services,” he observed.
He thus underlined the importance of promoting dialogue among Member countries in view of enhancing health financing, closing the funding gap, achieving universal health coverage, and fostering the development of the health sector in line with the goals of the AU.
Professor Rakotonirina expressed his gratitude to all key partners and called on other countries to adopt the practice of dialogue sharing to be able to work together and meet the AU health financing commitments.