1 October 2018

Mauritius: Health Ministry Envisages to Develop Strategies to Reduce Salt Intake, Says Minister Husnoo

press release

The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is envisaging to develop strategies to reduce salt intake in diets as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Key salt reduction measures have been identified as one of the most cost-effective measures countries can take to improve population health outcomes.

This statement was made on 29 September 2018 by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam National Hospital, Pamplemousses, on the occasion of World Heart Day 2018. He added that these strategies will help to decrease the prevalence of hypertension and other complications associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

Speaking about CVD, Dr Husnoo pointed out that it is the leading cause of death and disability in the world, killing 17.5 million people a year, that is a third of all deaths on the planet and half of all non-communicable-disease-related deaths. Around 80% of these deaths are in low and middle-income countries where human and financial resources are least able to address the CVD burden, he underlined. The WHO, he stated, has estimated that by 2030, around 23,6 million of people will die from CVD each year.

Referring to the situation in Mauritius, the Health Minister expressed concern over the increasing number of CVD which were responsible for 32,3% of total deaths in 2017. He recalled that CVD and diabetes were the two principal causes of death in Mauritius last year, with 1,850 people having died with CVD complications. According to him, CVD remain a principal cause of admissions in hospitals in the country adding that the number of operations for CVD has increased from 641 in 2006 to 1,294 in 2017.

Hence the need, Dr Husnoo said, to take care of our heart by controlling the main risk factors namely tobacco use, unhealthy diet, high cholesterol level, hypertension, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. Statistics from the Non-Communicable Diseases Report 2015 reveal that in Mauritius, 22,8% of the population suffer from diabetes and 19,4% is pre-diabetic. The prevalence of hypertension is 28,4%, 19,1% is obese and 35,2% is overweight. Only 23,7% of the population are physically active while 52,8% consume alcohol and 19,3% smoke cigarettes. In view of the alarming situation, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life called on the population to change their eating habits by consuming healthier meals and to be more physically active.

He reiterated Government's commitment to fight CVD while adding that several measures are being taken to step up CVD care as well as encourage the population to adopt healthier lifestyle. These include: Amendment to the Food Regulation Act; increase of taxes on cigarettes; development of facilities for physical activities such as health tracks, outdoor gyms, health clubs and aerobics; mobile clinics for screening of diabetes, hypertension and obesity; acquisition of five new Advanced Cardiac Resuscitation Ambulances; recruitment of new cardiac surgeons at Cardiac Centre in Candos Hospital; and decentralisation of cardiac services in all Regional Hospitals.

World Heart Day 2018

This year's World Heart Federation global campaign for World Heart Day focuses on looking after our own hearts, and the hearts of our loved ones, using the slogan 'My Heart, Your Heart'. World Heart Day is the world's biggest platform for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke.

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