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People of Mauritania fully embrace health reform by new health minister

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The reforms announced by Mauritania’s new Health minister, Mohamed Nedhirou Hamed, is already gathering a huge momentum of solidarity among the population, reports claimed on Thursday, 14 November 2019.

This public solidarity has taken various forms; from hashtags and newspaper articles, to supportive sit-ins organized in front of the Health ministry and music videos praising the reforms.

These include the obligation of rigor in the treatment of patients, free care in emergency services and the fight against fake medicines, much of which have flooded the country’s pharmaceutical market for years.

However, the key measure of the reforms lies in the regulation of pharmacies mushrooming in Mauritania’s major cities, especially in Nouakchott, without the regulation of their contents and workers.

Hamed, appointed into the first cabinet of President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, insisted on applying the law to the letter by setting 200 meters as the minimum distance between any pharmacy and the nearest medical center.

However, this measure was immediately rejected by investors in the pharmaceutical sector.

The pharmacies are mainly located near the main medical facilities in Nouakchott, such as the National Hospital, the military hospital or the Sheikh Zayed Hospital and the Hospital of Friendship.

Their argument is based on the fact that they fear losing billions of ouguiyas injected into the sector, which could also put hundreds of employees out of work.

However, the new minister remains firm and determined to implement his reforms or quit, if this was no longer possible.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday night, 13 November 2019, in Nouakchott, the Health ministry has reaffirmed the minister’s resolve to implement regulations and assume full responsibility for them.

He encouraged every Mauritanian to help in the full application of the law.