GIS - 09 April, 2019: Statistics regarding the number of people suffering from NCDs in Mauritius are alarming, constituting 81 % of diseases and 85 % of mortality in Mauritius. The core mission of the Government remains ensuring the well-being of the citizens, hence a budget of some Rs 11.7 billion is earmarked annually for the health sector.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, was speaking at the launching of activities in the context of the World Health Day 2019, yesterday at the Trianon Convention Centre. Several eminent personalities as well as some 3 000 students of secondary schools were present. On the same occasion, the Prime Minister launched a booklet on the causes and preventive measures of NCDs.
The Prime Minister underlined that the theme of this year’s event is ‘Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere’ which calls for countries to increase accessibility to health care services that are essential for the well-being of their population. He highlighted that Mauritius has been providing free and quality health care services for years adding that Government is accelerating efforts to enhance the sector through provision of better infrastructure, equipment, trained staff as well as a better administrative system.
Speaking about the increasing number of people who are suffering from NCDs, he observed that the Government has taken the commitment to tackle this challenge by elaborating key measures such as sensitisation campaigns, increasing accessibility to screenings for early detection and prevention measures along with specialised medical treatments. More importantly, he said, health education remains the pivotal strategy on Government’s agenda aimed at raising awareness as regards the imperative need to adopt a physically active lifestyle. He recalled that the National Sports and Activity policy has been launched last year, with the aim of encouraging all citizens of all age groups to adopt a sports culture.
Furthermore, Mr Jugnauth emphasised that everyone should show commitment and determination to adopt a healthy lifestyle in terms of proper diet and regular physical activity that will keep diseases at bay. As regards the youths, he observed that synthetic drugs remain a significant threat to their well-being and reiterated his determination to protect them from this scourge. Government, he said, is waging a relentless battle against the proliferation of drugs, which is demonstrated in the number of arrests and seizures being carried out every day.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the country counts various excellent healthcare institutions including five regional and 143 medical centers namely 117 Community Health Centres, 20 Area Health Centers, 5 Mediclinic et 1 Community Hospital. He also underlined major projects that are nearing completion including the new ENT hospital and announced other key projects in the pipeline including the setting up of a new high-tech laboratory, renovation works for the proper storage of medicines in accordance to international standards, the E-health system and the extension of neurosurgery, Endoscopy, Diabetes Foot Care and palliative care for cancer patients across the country, along with the introduction of a Neonatal Unit at Flacq Hospital.
He further indicated that some 400 doctors have been recruited on a shift system and existing staffs are being continually trained to provide an optimum service to the population, while recalling that the introduction of the Human Tissue Act will enable the kidney transplant surgery.
For his part, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo elaborated on the excellent healthcare services that are provided free of cost to the population and underlined that these are continually being enhanced. Along with the existing and upcoming infrastructure, new high-tech equipment and well-trained staffs, Mauritius has a robust health care system that provide quality services to all citizens, he stated.
Speaking about the high prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases in Mauritius, the Minister deplored the increasing number of Mauritians being affected by diseases that are essentially preventable. Some 220 000 people are suffering from diabetes while some 200 000 suffer from pre-diabetic symptoms. He pointed out that NCDs are linked to poor diets and excessive consumption of non-healthy food and sedentary lifestyle. He indicated that the economic burden of NCDs related medical treatment amounts to Rs 8 billion each year.
Dr Husnoo reiterated Government’s core mission to ensure the well-being of the population and highlighted that some Rs 12.2 Billion have been invested over the last two years for major infrastructural projects to enhance healthcare services, including the new Dialysis centre in Montagne-Longue, the New ENT hospital in Vacoas, the new Eye Hospital in Reduit, the first teaching hospital in Flacq and the New Cancer Centre at Solferino.
On that note, he dwelt on the National Sport and Physical Activity programme of Government and urged the population, in particular the youth, to adopt a healthy lifestyle at an early stage by opting for healthy diets and undertaking regular physical activities.
As for the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, she said that the World Health Day is an opportune time to reflect on the importance of maintaining a good health and the measures to be taken in this respect. She emphasised that it is important that one focuses on preventive health measures and not rely on medical treatments to maintain a good health. She recalled that everyone is assigned the responsibility of ensuring his own well-being and should therefore be conscious of the impacts of the food that he is consuming.
Speaking about the educational reform, the Education Minister pointed out that Government’s core objective is to ensure the wholesome development of students as well as their well-being at all levels by providing them with health education at an early stage. The new system, she said, puts much emphasis on fostering a sports culture for the optimum physical, mental as well as academic development of the youths, so that they are able to develop the right attitude and adopt a healthy lifestyle as responsible citizens.
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