Abstract: The White Paper on Health Sector Development and Reform proposes the Action Plan for Health. The aim of the Action Plan is to improve the level of health in Mauritius and the range and quality of health services, to meet the present and future needs of the people. The White Paper reviews the progress that has been made in the last two years in the development of services and identifies specific furthe r new and expanded services that are necessary, to secure in Mauritius the levels of health and of health services, that are enjoyed by people in developed countries. Mauritius has been doing well, but it can do better.
The principal developments proposed include a 24 hour family doctor service, major expansion of high tech, diagnostic and treatment services, new and improved hospitals and health centres and a greater emphasis on health promotion and preventive medicine.
The Action Plan proposes the introduction of an assets management approach for the health services estate, to renew and maintain buildings and equipment in full working order. It includes a better deal for staff as part of a human resources development plan, with 3,900 extra jobs and a programme of continuing education and training. Quality assurance is to be extended to all facilities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of services, and a Patient’s Charter will be put in place to promote consumer protection.
The results expected from the plan include an increase in the expectation of life to above 75 years, further reductions in infant and maternal deaths; increase in the numbers of life saving heart operations, and in the capacity to reduce deaths from kidney failure through expansion of kidney dialysis and transplant services. Further improvements will be made in the quality of prevention and care for those with hypertension and diabetes to reduce the risk of complication from these conditions. Mental health services will be reformed. Health promotion will focus on improvements in lifestyle to reduce tobacco use and alcohol abuse, increase exercise and improve diet. Programmes will also be strengthened to provide more support to the most disadvantaged people whose health is affected by poverty, homelessness, disabilities and malnutrition.
The cost of these developments is beyond what can be expected in the medium term from the normal budget sources. Options for supplementary finance for the Action Plan are presented, including national health insurance, extra incentives for the development of the private sector, conversion of the National Savings Fund, health taxes on tobacco and alcohol, an efficiency drive within the health sector and charges for health services.
The White Paper is published for public consultation and views are invited to be submitted by 31 March 2003 to promote the widest possible debate on priorities and methods of funding as a basis for national policy.
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