In the context of World Diabetes Day 2021, commemorated annually on 14 November, the Ministry of Health and Wellness launched a series of activities, this morning, at Mont Roches Social Welfare Centre in Beau Bassin, with the objectives of sensitising the population on diabetes as a major health issue having a significant economic and social burden on individuals, families and the society at large.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal; the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative, Dr Laurent Musango; and other personalities were present at the event. The day activities comprised the conduct of the Mauritius Non-communicable disease (NCD) survey, aiming, among others at determining the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and its associated risk factors in the population; an exhibition on NCDs; and the publication of leaflets on the dangers of alcohol for young people.
In a statement, the Health Minister stressed the necessity for individual and collective responsibility in preventing and better managing diabetes. He affirmed that modifications in lifestyle can curb the high prevalence of diabetes in the country. A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining normal body weight, while avoiding tobacco use and alcohol consumption, are ways to counter the onset of diabetes, he emphasised.
Dr Jagutpal also dwelt on the need for regular screening that would lead to early diagnosis and treatment, with a view to hindering health complications associated with Type 2 diabetes. These complications include eye, foot and nerve problems, as well as renal, coronary and vascular diseases. The Minister thus underlined the importance of World Diabetes Day in raising awareness and providing relevant information on diabetes, which can be treated and its consequences avoided.
For his part, the WHO Representative talked about the alarming level of people in Mauritius living with diabetes and the rapid increase of the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes worldwide. Recalling the excess morbidity associated with diabetes, Dr Musango underlined that diabetic people are more at risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness. He therefore deemed the prevention and management of diabetes, together with COVID-19 vaccination, as a priority.
Other activities, that would be organised by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to mark World Diabetes Day 2021, are the distribution of pamphlets on diabetes related topics and healthy lifestyle; screening for NCDs, including diabetes, at community level, worksites and secondary school level; and talks and special interventions on radio on the prevention of diabetes.