GIS – 19 November 2018: Government is spending some Rs 9 billion each year in the prevention and treatment of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which accounts for 84% of total burden of disease. In Mauritius, around 250 000 people have diabetes and 200 000 are pre-diabetic and 4 000 persons died from diabetes last year.
This statement was made, this morning, by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, at the launching of activities organised by his Ministry in the context of World Diabetes Day 2018 held at the Octave Wiehé auditorium, Réduit.
Dr Husnoo raised concern with regards to the fact that only 23% of the population is doing regular exercises and that 58% are consuming alcohol. In view of the alarming situation, he appealed to the population to eat healthily, do regular physical activity, maintain a normal body weight and avoid alcohol and tobacco.
He underlined that diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. Hence the need, he said, to do regular check-ups, screening and to adopt a healthy lifestyle since diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with diet, physical activity, medication and regular screening and treatment for complications.
Speaking about measures taken by the Government in the fight against NCDs, Dr Husnoo highlighted that more than 400 000 students from primary and secondary schools have been sensitised, soft drinks have been banned in school canteens, taxes on cigarettes and alcohol have been increased, and outdoor gyms have been made available so as to get people to be more active.
Referring to the theme of World Diabetes Day 2018, which is ‘The Family and Diabetes’, Dr Husnoo underpinned the vital role played by the family in addressing the modifiable risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to prevent the complications of diabetes and achieve healthy outcomes. All families are potentially affected by diabetes and so awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors for all types of diabetes are vital to help detect it early, he added.
He furthermore stated that family support in diabetes care has been shown to have a substantial effect in improving health outcomes for people. It is therefore important, he highlighted, that ongoing diabetes self-management education and support are accessible to all people with diabetes and their families to reduce the emotional impact of the disease that can result in a negative quality of life.
For his part the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango, pointed out that since the 1980s till date the number of people with diabetes in the African region has increased six fold from four million in 1980 to 25 million in 2018. This high prevalence, he underlined, represents a huge burden not only for the health system but also for the economy of the country.
While encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles, Dr Musango underlined that people need to control diabetes and not let diabetes control them. He also lauded the efforts of the Mauritian Government to prevent NCDs while adding that the WHO aims to stimulate and support the adoption of effective measures for the surveillance, prevention and control of diabetes and its complications, particularly in low and middle-income countries. To this end, WHO provides scientific guidelines for the prevention of major NCDs including diabetes; develops norms and standards for diabetes diagnosis and care; builds awareness on the global epidemic of diabetes; and conducts surveillance of diabetes and its risk factors.
On this occasion, a study on the ‘Development and Evaluation of a Technology-Assisted Diabetes Prevention Programme in Mauritius’ was launched. Around 400 people who are pre-diabetic are targeted in this new trial project. Three times a week, a SMS will be sent to them for a period of one year whereby they will be encouraged to do regular exercises and adopt healthier lifestyles.
To mark World Diabetes Day 2018, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life also organised screening activities and an exhibition at the Octave Wiehé auditorium.
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