The Rodrigues Health Commission, Mauritius Ministry of Health and Wellness, with support from WHO, conducted a sub-national (Rodrigues) public health risk profiling exercise from 29 May to 02 June 2023 to better understand risks and prepare for future public health emergencies in the Island of Rodrigues.
The exercise is subsequent to similar risk profiling assessment at national level performed in February 2023 in Port Louis where it was recognized that Rodrigues Island comes with its own, distinct vulnerabilities and unique topography, urging for a specific sub-national public health risk assessment and mapping.
The meeting, attended by 28 multisectoral experts, used the Strategic Toolkit for Assessing Risk (STAR) to identify and prioritize the Island ‘s public health risks. The STAR toolkit is guided by the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction commitments. It was used to assess potential public health risks for all existing identified hazards in Rodrigues.
The risk assessment was facilitated by trainers from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Mauritius who were trained during the National Strategic Risk Assessment earlier in February 2023. This identification and prioritization of public health risks will then be followed by the development of robust strategies and plans to address the vulnerabilities of Rodrigues to protect, mitigate and enhance readiness to the health emergencies and disasters, the island is most likely to face.
In brief, the STAR methodology uses a stepwise process to identify hazards facing the country, describe the seasonality and likelihood to occur, and assess their potential impact on the health system. While some similarities exist between Mauritius and Rodrigues, the focus has been on differences customizing future preparedness and response plans.
Following the workshop, the Rodrigues Health Commission with the support of the Mauritius Ministry of Health and Wellness and multisectoral partners agreed to:
- Review the contingency plans for priority risks;
- Link the results of the risk profile to health system capacity development and multi-hazard response operational planning;
- Reinforce all-hazards coordination mechanisms to support collaboration during emergency preparedness and response phases; andStrengthen the public health unit in Rodrigues in parallel with the Mauritius system.
“The aim of the workshop is to conduct a multi-hazard assessment with the participation of different relevant sectors and ministries to consolidate preparedness and contingency plans in the event of emergencies that are specific for Rodrigues. Furthermore, the hazards are marked across a calendar year indicating their peak seasons, thereby enabling adequate preparedness and resource allocation” – The Rodrigues Health Commissioner
Dr Ancia, WHO Representative highlighted the importance of being prepared for the consequences of climate change.
“… the analysis of climate change impacts is important for small island like, Rodrigues and is an evolving science …. It is based on extrapolation of future impact for which we need to remain very vigilant. Every day we see unexpected events resulting from climate change, impacting dramatically on the health and the livelihood of people.” –WHO Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Ancia
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Mauritius.