GIS – 15 January, 2020: A three-day workshop focusing on the importance of health-related detrimental effects linked to alcohol consumption, kicked-off this morning at the seat of the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Port Louis. The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, was present at the opening ceremony.
Medical officers, specialised nurses, nursing officers, specialised healthcare assistants in health promotion, healthcare assistants and community healthcare officers are attending. These participants will be trained and empowered to sensitise the population at community level and work sites as well as students of secondary schools to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.
In his address, Minister Jagutpal spoke of the alarming rate of alcohol-attributable ill-effects worldwide and indicated that alcohol consumption contributes to three million deaths each year globally as well as to disabilities and poor health conditions of millions of people.
Although only half of the global population drinks alcohol, he said, it has been identified as the world’s third leading cause of ill health and premature death among those aged between 15 to 49 years old. On this score, Dr Jagutpal pointed out that the World Health Organisation has identified alcohol as the causal factor to more than 200 diseases and injury conditions.
Speaking on the statistics for Mauritius, the Minister of Health stated that as per the Non-Communicable Disease survey 2015, 52.8% of the Mauritian population, representing 41.0% of women and 66.2% of men, consume alcohol on a regular basis. Mauritius, he further underlined, has an alcohol dependency rate of alcohol drinks of 1.9% against 1.5% across African countries. In 2018, 143 individuals died due to alcohol overconsumption in Mauritius, he further highlighted. As per the figures of the Mauritius Police Force, he added, one third of road fatalities in Mauritius is due to alcohol consumption.
Dr Jagutpal also spoke of the strong link between alcohol abuse and criminal offences and domestic violence. With regards to alcohol consumption and the youth, he underscored that the Global Student Health Survey 2011 revealed that 72.6% of adolescents had their first drink before the age 14 years old with clear denotations of the easy access of alcoholic beverage to minors.
Moreover, the Minister highlighted that the introduction of various measures such as the zero-tolerance drink driving policy launched in 2018 has yielded beneficial results in terms of regulating the use of alcohol.
A National Action Plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2020-2024 is in the pipeline, Minister Jagutpal announced. This document will be viewed as a backbone to the implementation of community-based interventions and counter measures to tackle alcohol health issues, he pointed out.
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