GIS - 15 November 2017: “The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life will soon be conducting the Mauritius intensive diabetes action study, whose objective will be to determine the best interventions in preventing or at least slowing diabetes complications.”
This announcement was made by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, at the Esplanade of Emmanuel Anquetil Building in Port Louis yesterday at the launch of activities to mark World Diabetes Day 2017, observed on 14 November. “A cohort of 5,000 diabetic patients will participate in the study which will focus on addressing risk factors and controlled nutrition,” said Dr Husnoo.
The Minister made an appeal to all Mauritians to embrace a healthy lifestyle by engaging in physical activity, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding risks factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and stress to curb the diabetes epidemic. He recalled that in Mauritius around 250,000 people suffer from diabetes while some 200,000 persons are prediabetic. Dr Husnoo moreover deplored that the prevalence of diabetes is higher in women at 23.5% while the figure for men stands at 22%.
The necessity for diabetes patients to manage their conditions better was also highlighted by the Minister. He thus elaborated on the development of complications when diabetes is not treated and managed correctly. “By not adopting the required lifestyle and not following your treatment prescriptions, you are putting yourself at risk of premature death or diabetic complications which lead to cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, as well as cases of blindness, kidney failure and amputations,” underlined Dr Husnoo. Around 450 amputations due to diabetes are carried out yearly and some 1,500 persons with diabetes undergo dialysis.
The Minister restated his appeal for the country to come together to fight the diabetic epidemic. He urged the public and private sectors, non-governmental organisations, civil society, the media and the public at large to increase efforts to promote more responsible behaviour to prevent diabetes. “Along with the initiatives taken by the Ministry in the fight against diabetes including regular screening across the country, recruitment of additional doctors, and decentralisation of health care services, a national SMS campaign will be launched soon to remind people of the need to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr Husnoo.
Also present at the event, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango, dwelt on the theme chosen to commemorate this year’s World Diabetes Day which is ‘Women and diabetes - our right to a healthy future’. He pointed out that women, because of their responsibilities and roles within the family, are key agents in the adoption of healthy lifestyle as they have a large influence over the nutrition, health and well-being of their children and other members of the family.
The importance of adequate health care for women with diabetes mellitus who are pregnant or who develop diabetes during pregnancy was underlined by Dr Musango. He urged for more awareness campaigns to empower women with knowledge and information to better assist them in preventing diabetes and safeguarding their own health and that of family members.
World Diabetes Day
The World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated annually on November 14, was initiated by the International Diabetes Federation and the WHO in 1991 amidst growing concerns about the epidemic proportion of diabetes and its complications. The first WHO Global report on diabetes, published in 2016, indicates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 from 108 million to 422 million. It states that the rise is largely due to the increase in Type 2 diabetes and that factors driving it include overweight and obesity.
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