GIS - 12 November, 2015: A mass screening programme for Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) targeting some 12,000 police officers was launched today at the Line Barracks in Port Louis by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Anil Gayan, in the presence of the Commissioner of Police, Mr Karl Mario Nobin, the Chief Police Medical Officer, Dr Sudesh Kumar Gungadin, and other eminent personalities.
The screening programme is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and the Mauritius Police Force in the context of World Diabetes Day, commemorated annually on 14 November. Thus, police officers across Mauritius, through the NCD Mobile Services of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, will be benefitting from free screening services for diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Screening for breast and cervical cancers are also scheduled for women police officers. The programme will run up to February 2016.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Anil Gayan, stated that Mauritius has set diabetes as a top priority among its health challenges. Recalling that Mauritius has a high prevalence of diabetes with the trend continuing to rise, as evidence by successive NCD surveys carried out, Mr Gayan stressed that diabetes prevalence has increased by 60% from the period 1987 to 2009. He added that a new NCD survey has been conducted this year and that data are being analysed with the report on the situation being expected early next year.
According to Mr Gayan, nearly every family in Mauritius is confronted directly with the suffering associated with diabetes and Mauritians have a genetic predisposition to develop this disease. The Minister also stressed the unhealthy lifestyle adopted by Mauritians which has led to an increase in the prevalence of NCDs. “Tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol have contributed largely to this,” he said.
Highlighting the contribution of the police force in making the living environment better and safer, the Minister underlined the necessity for members of the police force, as role models for the community, to choose a healthy lifestyle that can be adopted by members of the community. Mr Gayan urged everyone to avail himself/ herself of the free health screening facilities. “Diabetes could affect your eyesight, feet, ears, heart and could reduce your lifespan by ten to fifteen years,” he highlighted.
Quoting the famous adage ‘Prevention is better than cure’ the Commissioner of Police, Mr Karl Mario Nobin, for his part, affirmed that discovering health problems at early stages have the potential to produce better treatment outcomes. He called on members of the police force not only to make the most of these screening services but to encourage their colleagues to follow suit.
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