Mauritius received, yesterday, a first batch of medical equipment and personal protective equipment from the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), to help the country strengthen its capacities to respond to the health crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A handing-over ceremony was held at the Caudan Arts Centre, in Port Louis, during which the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Rechad Moolye, and the Senior Chief Executive, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Mr Chettandeo Bhugun, delivered the speeches of their respective Ministers. The Director of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for Mauritius and Seychelles, Mr André Pouillès-Duplaix, was present.
The speech of Minister Bodha emphasised that the Covid-19 is not only a global health crisis but also the most significant challenge that the country has had to face since the Second World War. For him, Government has spared no efforts and has put in place a range of economic and social measures to help the population and has already spent more than Rs 8.2 billion in the form of direct aid to local businesses.
It is essential for all resources in terms of research and health practice be brought together, and for experiences to be shared, so as to find solutions and allow Mauritius become self-sufficient in the health sector, he added. The Minister also urged the European Commission to consider providing assistance relating to measures aimed at providing financial support to the Member States of the IOC for the boosting of their economies.
Dr Jagutpal’s speech highlighted that prevention remains key pending the development of an effective vaccine against the Covid-19. In Mauritius, Government took the initiative to improve its capacity to respond to the threat of the pandemic, and to work to ensure the safety of the population, he recalled. It is expected that the donation of medical equipment will allow Mauritius to further strengthen the level of pandemic alert.
According to him, the health safety of citizens remains the central pillar of every Government action. The efforts of other Ministries and those of partners have been crucial in managing the pandemic in Mauritius, which means that today, for more than 100 days, no case of local contamination has been detected, he indicated. The Minister also thanked the IOC and the AFD for their support and assistance to countries in the region.
For his part, the Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission, Mr Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, who intervened through video-conference, stressed that cooperation is a humane gesture, and that the IOC upholds the very principle of solidarity. The threat of the Covid-19 is multiple, and the assistance offered to Member States will have to strengthen national capacities for detection, care and treatment, he stated.
The SEGA One-Health network, he indicated, which is a regional mechanism of the Member States of the IOC for the surveillance and response against epidemics, has drawn up a first emergency plan and funded by AFD to the tune of 477,150 euros. This grant contributes to the strengthening of national surveillance teams for the early detection of any important case of the Covid-19 and to implement measures to contain the disease. A second emergency plan has been developed, at a cost of 4 million euros for the purchase of equipment and medicine.
As for Mr Pouillès-Duplaix, he pointed out that France has mobilised substantial resources to the tune of 1.2 billion euros in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 across the most vulnerable countries on the African continent. The SEGA One-Health network, he indicated, has enabled the sharing of regional and international health information as well as regular exchanges between health experts in order to anticipate and be proactive in managing the Covid-19 health crisis.
Moreover, the AFD Director announced the elaboration of a project in collaboration with the European Union to strengthen the capacities of the IOC and of its Member States in risk management epidemics and zoonotics for an additional 9.4 million euros.