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The benefit of clinical trials in Mauritius for Mauritians

With regard to the government’s recent initiative on non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, etc., I believe that it will be to the population’s benefit if more can be done e.g., conducting local clinical trials in Mauritius with appropriate patients with new investigational pharmaceutical products from international sponsor pharmaceutical companies.

Mauritius has a captive population and there is a high genetic component to all the major non-communicable diseases prevalent here. This would be an ideal population that many international drug companies would be interested in. Unfortunately there is presently no legal and regulatory framework for conducting clinical trials in Mauritius, as is the case in the UK e.g. an Institutional Review Board/Ethics Committee.

A clinical trials bill was mentioned in 2009 but it has still not been presented to Parliament. Once such a bill is passed, conducting clinical trials in Mauritius will be in line with government policy and more importantly will benefit the population at large and the country as well, for it will encourage big pharmaceutical companies to invest in Mauritius. This will not only create jobs and boost the economy, but more significantly, will pave the way for new medications and treatments to reach the market. Eventually, the greatest beneficiaries will be patients.

Dr Arvind Gunput
West Yorkshire, UK

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Unparliamentary Language

1968 is undoubtedly a most important year in the history of our country. That was when the sense of belonging to the Mauritian nation within the framework of “Droits et devoirs de la jeunesse mauricienne dans une Ile Maurice indépendante” was being inculcated in our upbringing.

A few months before the declaration of Independence on 12 March 1968, we, a group of students of the Queen Elizabeth College, Rose Hill, were invited to the Legislative Assembly in Port-Louis to attend the debates of the day. The request for an invitation to be sent to us for that purpose was presented to the authorities concerned by the Prime Minister and Leader of the House Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam at the urging of my father Mr Lallah Ramsoondur Modun, elected representative and “colistier” of the latter for constituency no. 5, Pamplemousses-Triolet. The “Doctor”, as we still called SSR, greatly supported the view that the youth of today being leaders of tomorrow should have at least a notion of the place where the destiny of the country was being decided and of the style in which the issues were taken up.

It was a most enriching experience to be under the same roof, though at a distance but right in front of us, with the leaders of the various political parties of different, opposing ideologies and to note how they were engaged in civilised talks, in sharp contrast to what went on outside the Assembly.  However intervening at some point on an issue raised by a member of the Labour Party, Sir Gaetan Duval of the Parti Mauricien Social Democrate, then in opposition, elegantly dressed in his blue suit made an unpalatable remark (which we still remember!). Immediately a very annoyed Prime Minister stood up, addressed the Speaker of the House to formally and to firmly request the Honourable Member to mind his language, the more so given the presence of the “student girls in the gallery.’’

A few minutes later, much to our disappointment, our originally well-planned full-day visit was abruptly curtailed, apparently due to an unexpected transport problem. We were requested to report back to college instead of going straight home; our bus route had to be modified but we felt that it was more a diplomatic move to avoid us an exposure to any eventual outpouring of unparliamentary language and behaviour. Nevertheless we felt very proud of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam’s consideration towards us.

In 2010, we can safely add that the first Prime Minister Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam’s wish has come true. At every post-independence general election since 1976 at least one Member of the Parliament has been an ex-student of the Queen Elizabeth College.

Dr Mala Modun-Bissessur
Belle Rose

* Published in print edition on 9 September 2010

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