Mauritius: The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, launched today at the Caudan Arts Centre in Port Louis a five-day workshop on the Strategic Tool for Assessing Risks (STAR). The workshop is organised by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The WHO Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia, and other personalities were present on this occasion.
In his keynote address, Minister Jagutpal highlighted that the aim of this workshop is to conduct a multi-hazard assessment with the participation of the different relevant sectors and Ministries so as to consolidate preparedness and contingency plans in the event of emergencies. He pointed out that the STAR has been devised by the WHO to help Governments carry out strategic and evidence-based assessments of health risks. This tool, he underlined, will allow for proper planning and prioritisation of efforts to, among others, better prevent, mitigate, and recover from a health emergency or disaster.
On this score, the Minister indicated that these health emergencies might be in the form of pandemics such as COVID-19, Ebola and Zika, as well as collateral damages made to health during natural disasters such as floods and cyclones.
He remarked that the STAR will provide a report of each priority hazard identified during the workshop, whereby recommendations for each hazard will be developed and priority actions will be outlined. The recommendations resulting from this five-day workshop will be integrated into the National Action Plan for Health Security as it provides evidence-based hazard prioritisation, he stated.
Furthermore, Dr Jagutpal stressed that the STAR is aligned with the Health Sector Strategic Plan 2020-2024 under Strategic Goal 16 in a bid to improve health security through a sustainable, effective and efficient national surveillance, response and recovery system.
The STAR is equally aligned with the International Health Regulations Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and is to be carried out every two to three years, he said.
The Health Minister also underscored that several initiatives of his Ministry, in collaboration with the WHO, will allow for better monitoring and evaluation of measures being taken to address emergencies and health issues through the optimum use of resources.
For her part, Dr Ancia pointed out that this workshop will strengthen the preparedness capacities and the resilience of Mauritius against the multiple hazards that regularly threaten not only the health of its population but its basic livelihood.
She emphasised that these types of risk analysis are important for Small Island Developing States, which are the most vulnerable to climate change, so as to: prepare, prevent and mitigate the risks linked to climate change; accumulate data over time that will enable taking a better evidenced-based decision; and advocate for more global actions on climate change.
The WHO Representative reassured us that the STAR will further help to take relevant, evidence-based and effective decisions and actions so as to minimise the likelihood and impacts of the hazards threatening us in our daily life. Risk analysis and management provide us with the evidence to identify and prioritise strategies and policies for better emergency or disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, she added.