GIS - 3 October, 2014: Government wants to encourage research capacity building in all areas of health care with a view to finding better solutions for the health care sector. The Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Lormus Bundhoo, made this statement yesterday at Le Méridien hotel in Balaclava at the opening of the Diabetes summit.
In his address the Minister recalled that the vision of the government is to develop Mauritius into a medical and knowledge hub and a centre of excellence in this part of the world. We therefore welcome international links and interdisciplinary collaboration to achieve quality and excellence in health care delivery, he said.
Delegates from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives are attending the four-day summit which is organised at the initiative of the International Diabetes Federation South East Asia and the South East Asia Regional Council, in collaboration with the Mauritius Diabetes Association. Besides promoting effective counseling of diabetes-related programmes, the summit also aims at developing a better understanding of prevention and treatment methods as well as to providing an opportunity for in-depth exchange of ideas and country experiences in diabetes care.
The existence of well-equipped institutions such as the University of Mauritius and the Mauritius Institute of Health coupled with a multi-ethnic population representing a microcosm of the world population offers Mauritius plenty of opportunities for research on diabetes, said the Minister. He added that Mauritians have a genetic predisposition to develop the disease.
‘It has also been observed that with a net improvement of the standard of living over the last decades, the average Mauritian has unfortunately adopted an unhealthy lifestyle with the consequence that there has been an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol have contributed largely to this’, Mr Bundhoo said.
He enumerated measures implemented over the years with regard to NCD. They include launching of a National Service Framework for Diabetes in 2007; setting up of a Diabetes and Vascular Health Centre at Souillac; introduction of Glycosylated haemoglobin (HBAIC) testing to better monitor patients with diabetes; setting up of a National Register for Diabetes at the Diabetes and Vascular Health Centre at Souillac; provision of National Digital Retinal Screening Service in all five health regions; setting up of a structured Diabetic Foot Care Service; and implementation of Action Plans on Nutrition, Tobacco, and Physical Activity.
These measures have yielded positive outcomes; the Minister said while expressing his satisfaction that Mauritius is no longer among the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation estimates the prevalence of diabetes in Mauritius at 15.1%. Furthermore, the percentage of deaths due to heart diseases has decreased from 22.8% in 2005 to 17.7% in 2013.
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