The national prevention campaign against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), an initiative of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, was launched yesterday at Grand Bois in the presence of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo.
The campaign, which will spread over 10 days, aims at sensitising and educating the public against the risk-related factors, complications and prevention measures of NCDs. It comprises a series of activities namely screening for NCDs, breast cervical, vision, cholesterol, as well as counselling and health education.
In his address, Dr Anwar Husnoo, underlined that an early detection of NCDs is fundamental to prevent diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer and their related complications. The population, he stressed, should adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle as well as practice sports to improve the management of NCDs, and promote the health status of the population.
Speaking about the link between food habits and the prevalence of NCDs, Dr Husnoo pointed out that rapid changes in diets and lifestyles that have occurred with industrialisation, urbanisation, economic development and market globalisation, have accelerated over the past decade. This has resulted, he said, in significant negative consequences in terms of inappropriate dietary patterns, decreased physical activities and increased tobacco use, and a corresponding increase in diet-related chronic diseases. He urged the population to have a healthier diet and to practice a physical activity so as to achieve the best results in preventing chronic diseases.
The Health Minister also expressed concern over the increasing number of new cases of cancer each year. In 2017, there were 2 500 new cancer cases, 1 500 among females and 1 000 among men, with breast cancer topping the list. Regular exercise and a healthy and balanced diet can reduce the incidence of cancer, he underlined.
Referring to the prevention campaign, Minister Husnoo highlighted that NCDs is the leading cause of death in Mauritius, adding that the campaign will help raise awareness of NCDs at national level and make Mauritius a physically active and healthy nation. He also pointed out that his Ministry is continuously working on programmes to provide free medical check-ups to the public as well as to encourage the population to practise physical activities and adopt healthy eating habits.
He reaffirmed Government's commitment to expand hospital infrastructure and health care facilities so as to enhance the quality of service delivery. To that end, several infrastructural projects are being implemented by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, namely the construction of the new ENT Hospital, consisting of a hospital and an administrative building, to the tune of Rs 900 million; the new Eye Hospital at Moka to the tune of Rs 800 million; the new Cancer Hospital at Vacoas to the tune of Rs 1 billion; and the new Teaching Hospital at Flacq at the cost of Rs 4 billion.
The Prevention against NCDs Programme
In 2017, the programme was carried out by the Mobile Clinic in the community and at worksites in all five health regions whereby 48 595 persons were reached and 29,850 persons were screened for the year 2017 according to guidelines (Mauritius Diabetes Risk Score). The remaining 4 245 persons were provided with health education/ counselling on NCDs and healthy lifestyle.
The Mobile Clinic provides people with an opportunity for early diagnosis of risk factors of NCDs, and also for timely treatment, thus ensuring that people remain in good health, while those with risk factors of NCDs receive appropriate advice and treatment.
The objectives of the Mobile Clinic are to make early detection of NCDs; help reduce gradually the incidence of NCDs; screen people aged 18 years and above who are not following treatment for any NCDs; screen workers at their worksites without their having to be absent from work; and enhance health education and public awareness.