A healthcare and biotech conference, aiming to improve healthcare through biotechnology, was launched yesterday morning at Intercontinental Resort, Balaclava. The two-day event is organised by the Economic Development Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Jagutpal; the Professor of Cancer Prevention at the Harvard T. H Chan School of Public Health, Dr Timothy Rebbeck; the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors, Economic Development Board, Mr Issa Mohamad Soormally, and other personalities were present on the occasion.
In his address, Dr. Jagutpal outlined the Government’s vision to promote economic growth through the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. This involves positioning Mauritius as a global hub for bio-pharmaceutical companies, with a focus on research and development, he added.
He noted Government’s commitment through measures like clinical trials and clinical research initiatives, a marine biotechnology framework, and tax incentives for pharmaceutical production. Additionally, Mr. Jagutpal highlighted the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK’s Department of International Trade to strengthen collaboration in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.
The Minister stressed Government’s undertaking to the healthcare and biotech sector with three projects in the Cote d’Or Integrated Smart City under the Build Operate Transfer Scheme. These include the National Health Laboratory Services Centre, a Modern Medical Warehouse, and a Cardiac Hospital. He also spoke of plans for a 10-acre Ayush Hospital to promote alternative medicine. To support these sectors, a substantial allocation of approximately Rs 19.2 billion for healthcare infrastructure projects has been earmarked. Additionally, he stressed the vital role played by private clinics in the medical tourism project, and Government’s dedication to advancing these initiatives.
Through innovative policies, strategic partnerships, and substantial infrastructure investments, he added, Mauritius is on track to become a regional centre of excellence in biopharmaceuticals and establish a prominent global presence in the biotech industry.
Dr. Rebbeck, for his part, underscored the imperative nature of biotechnology in contemporary healthcare, emphasizing its integration as a fundamental, rather than optional, component. He pointed out the essential role of infusing technological tools and concepts throughout the medical sector and the need for an agile shift from conventional drug development methods to a more modern, adaptive approach in response to the swiftly changing healthcare environment.
Furthermore, Mr. Soormally spoke of the vital role of medical device companies in the global healthcare supply chain. According to him, so as to attract global capital and talent, a robust healthcare system is imperative. He emphasised that investment in the biotech sector is key to societal well-being and national progress.