Mauritius has launched Public Service Health Promotion Clubs to promote health and combat diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

The Honorable Minister of Health and Welfare, Dr. Kailash Kumar Jagutpal launched the Public Service Health Promotion Clubs on November 14, 2022 to mark World Diabetes Day 2022 in Mauritius. Health Promotion Clubs aim to promote a healthy lifestyle among public officials through regular physical activity, lectures and awareness campaigns on health issues, especially NCD risk factors and the regular NCD screening program. Eminent personalities, including the Minister of Civil Service, Administrative and Institutional Reforms, Hon. Mr. Teeruthraj Hurdoyal and the new representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Anne Marie Ancia, attended the event. Senior officials from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, representatives from other ministries and many civil servants were also present.

“Diabetes is a silent killer. It affects a large part of the Mauritian population,” said Dr. K. Jagutpal, Minister of Health in his address. He expressed concern about the growing number of prediabetes in the population as well as the prevalence of uncontrolled diabetes. The risks of having complications are higher in uncontrolled diabetics, Dr. Hon said. Jagutpal.

“You have to get to know each other. It is based on your family history as heredity is a non-modifiable factor for non-communicable diseases,” Dr. K. Jagutpal added. He urged public officials to take advantage of the facilities available to them at their workplaces for regular physical activity to prevent diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

“You have to invest more in your health, and you have to work hard to make this behavior of practicing regular physical activity a habit,” added the Minister of Health.

The Minister of Health emphasized this year’s theme “Education to Protect Tomorrow” and the need for better access to quality diabetes education for healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes.

The latest NCD survey conducted in 2021 shows that approximately 20% of the total population of Mauritius has diabetes. The prevalence of uncontrolled diabetes is a real concern as it increases the risk of serious health complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, eye problems and damaged arteries. Prediabetes and obesity are major precursors to diabetes and cardiovascular disease and therefore promoting a healthy lifestyle at an early age will help reverse the situation. The support and technical assistance provided by the World Health Organization has been duly acknowledged by Dr. Hon. K.Jagutpal.

Hon. Mr. Hurdoyal, Minister of Civil Service, Administrative and Institutional Reforms, expressed concern about the rising number of diabetes cases globally. He said “the fight against diabetes has become very critical in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic as it can lead to more health complications and lead to premature deaths.”

“The health and well-being of public servants is a top priority for my department,” added the Hon. Mr. Hurdoyal who announced a screening program for NCDs in different ministries and departments. The establishment of a fitness center for public officials to prevent and control non-communicable diseases among civil servants and improve work-life balance as well as productivity is in preparation.

Dr Anne Ancia, the new WHO Representative in Mauritius, at her first public health event, said: “Each of us has an important role to play in the fight against diabetes”. She emphasized small daily actions that can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and other NCDs.

“Promoting the adoption of a healthy lifestyle among children and young people is essential to prevent diabetes,” said Dr Ancia, who recalled the creation of the first global targets for diabetes by 2030, as part of the recommendations of the 75th World Health Assembly in May this year to strengthen and monitor responses to diabetes within national NCD programmes.

These global targets include, among others, that 80% of people with diabetes will be diagnosed and have good blood sugar and blood pressure control; 60% of people over 40 will receive statin therapy; and 100% of people with type 1 diabetes will have access to affordable insulin and self-monitoring of blood glucose.

Dr. A. Ancia highlighted the need to redouble efforts to improve diabetes prevention and care management services and achieve universal health coverage. There is also a need for action to accelerate the implementation of the regional strategy Package of Essential Noncommunicable (PEN) Plus which focuses on the integration of outpatient care for severe and chronic NCDs in first level health facilities . The diagnosis and management of type 1 diabetes and other serious non-communicable diseases is also a priority for Member States in order to save the lives of children with type 1 diabetes.

“Despite the encouraging results of the latest Mauritius NCD Survey Report 2022, we still need to do more to reduce the suffering and premature death from diabetes and other NCDs in the country,” said Dr A. Ancia . She also commanded the continued efforts of the Mauritian government to tackle diabetes and other non-communicable diseases and to make them a priority at the level of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The promotion of a healthy lifestyle among the population remains essential in the fight against diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. Children must learn the importance of a healthy, balanced diet, combined with regular physical activity, and learn to say “no” to tobacco and alcohol while maintaining a healthy weight, the representative of the WHO.

“I would like to reiterate the availability of the World Health Organization to support the country in its fight against NCDs”, concluded Dr. A. Ancia.

The World Health Organization country office has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to strengthen the national NCD prevention and control program over the past few years.

In close collaboration with the WHO, the country has recently aligned its national food legislation with international standards to ensure food safety, while a new legal framework for the creation of a national food standardization agency has been promulgated. WHO also supported the assessment and strengthening of foot care services through the purchase of podiatry kits and the training of foot care nurses in June 2022. The findings of the care assessment will help improve the quality of foot care services in the country to prevent amputations. in people living with diabetes. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and WHO are working closely together to finalize the soon to be launched National NCD Integrated Action Plan and National NCD Service Framework.

WHO has also supported the continuing education of nurses in NCDs for the prevention of NCDs and promoted the involvement of NGOs and civil society in addressing health issues, particularly NCDs and the high prevalence of risk factors. risk of NCDs. Mauritius has also enacted new tobacco plain packaging legislation with legal support from the WHO, and the tobacco industry has received the necessary notice before the implementation of the new tobacco law to address to the high prevalence of smoking in the country.

The Mauritian government remains fully committed to providing quality health care services to the population in the face of the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Nothing is left to chance in the fight against diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO) – Mauritius.

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