Hear the voices of the population: Mauritius kick-starts societal dialogue for health

20 August 2018 - 28 August 2018

Understanding the needs and expectations of the population in a country is of immense importance, and more countries have started to run initiatives that include citizens participation in policy-making. Mauritius has followed this trend now and kick-started a ‘societal dialogue for health’. The purpose is to reach out to patients, communities, NGOs, and civil society organizations to better understand their views when it comes to access and provision of health services: How is primary health care perceived and are patients satisfied with the quality they receive? Are opening hours of public facilities convenient for community members? Why do people opt out from the public sector and choose private practice, potentially facing risks of financial hardship due to high out of pocket expenditure? These are just exemplary questions that will provide policy makers with crucial information when tasked to develop national health plans, strategies and policies.

WHO through the UHC Partnership has provided technical support to the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life (MOHQL) to embed participatory governance mechanisms into health policy-making processes. A capacity building workshop was organized jointly with the WHO Country Office in August this year. The motive for MOHQL’s increased engagement was a recent assessment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which represent a huge burden in the country. This time, the NCD assessment team led by the MOHQL consulted a broad range of stakeholders which brought in another depth of information to discussions in working groups. The next steps are to elaborate a NCD action plan and a new health sector strategic plan 2019-2023– good occasions to further include a participatory angle which is the firm commitment of MOHQL officials.

For further information, please see the following press release by the WHO Country Office of Mauritius