My First JCI Project

07 Jun

Portrait of Danielle WongIt was my friend Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo who invited me to join JCI, then known as Jeune Chambre Economique, in 1980. From the outset what I found very interesting in Jeune Chambre was the training in Leadership Skills provided and the opportunity of serving through community projects.

When I was asked to propose and lead my first project, the implementation of a Carnet de Santé immediately came to mind. Having given birth to my first child, Stefan in France, the latter had a Carnet de Santé. I found this booklet very useful and handy as it contained my son’s medical history, and other relevant information such as heights and weights history. The entries made by the Medical Practitioners, are signed by them, with their seal.

So I had in my possession the medical history of my son, which I could bring to any doctor we chose to visit for the latter to have an informed opinion; be it for a routine visit to the paediatrician, for vaccination, illness, or even for a second opinion, in Mauritius or abroad.

Since I was carrying my second child at the time, I had noticed that the concept of a Carnet de Santé was totally unknown in Mauritius. I was determined that my second child would have his Carnet de Santé.
In order to put my project in motion, I set up meetings with stakeholders of the health sector and met with a lot of resistance to its implementation. I remember leaving a meeting organised by the medical council with a feeling of utter discouragement. I was made to understand that it was not in the duties of health practitioners to fill in this Carnet de Santé. In fact, they were afraid of legal implications since they would be required to record information on their diagnosis, if any, treatment and medicine prescribed and vaccinations administered to babies.

Helped by my friend Arnaud Godère, I set up a committee to tackle all the obstacles that were put on our way. We set ourselves to work and along the way made some modifications to our original project. Thus Carnet de Santé became the Carte de Santé and was reduced from a 20 page booklet to a B3 sized paper divided into two folds.
After some months of determination and hard work, with the support and sponsorship of Cyril Dalais, the then UNICEF representative in Mauritius, the Carte de Santé was launched. Later on, the authorities replaced the Carte de Santé with the Carte Jaune, a document kept at the hospital.

Senator Danielle Wong
1984 JCI Mauritius National President


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