GIS – 7 March 2013: According to the International Diabetes Federation Atlas 2012, Mauritius, with a prevalence of 15.53%, no longer features among the ten countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world.
The statement was made this morning by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Lormus Bundhoo, at the opening ceremony of a Consultative workshop on collaborative research programme on diabetes held at the Mauritius Research Council (MRC) in Ebène in the presence of the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, Dr Rajeshwar Jeetah. According to Minister Bundhoo, the result is the outcome of the constant efforts of Government and measures implemented to curb the epidemic and improve the lives of those affected by diabetes.
With a prevalence of diabetes of 25.7%, Kiribati Island in the Pacific Ocean tops the list of the International Diabetes Federation Atlas 2012. While the estimated number of adults living with diabetes has soared to 366 million worldwide, the number is projected to increase to 552 million people by 2030.
Mr Bundhoo pointed out that though the prevalence of diabetes in Mauritius has increased by over 60% from 1987 to 2009, the comparative worldwide figure stands at 100% for the same period. He also said that Mauritius is one of the rare countries in the world having so much data on diabetes, with Non-communicable diseases (NCD) surveys conducted almost every five years since 1987 in collaboration with international stakeholders such as Baker IDI, Australia (Prof Zimmet) and National Public Health Institute, Finland (Prof Tuomilehto). The last survey was conducted in 2009 and showed that some 172,400 people aged between 25 to 74 years had diabetes in Mauritius and that one in two Mauritians aged between 25 to 74 years had either diabetes or Impaired Glucose Metabolism.
Minister Bundhoo also spoke of the numerous measures taken by the Government such as the implementation of the National Strategy for Diet, Physical Activity and Health and the National Service Framework on Diabetes, amendments to the Food Act to control saturated fats in cooking oils as well as ban on sale of aerated soft drinks and unhealthy snacks in educational institutions. He added that there was still a need to strengthen research on the causes and consequences of diabetes to further reduce diabetes’ local impact.
For his part, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, Dr Rajeshwar Jeetah, recalled that the consultative workshop on collaborative research programme on diabetes is part of the initiatives of the government to make Mauritius an International Research and Training Centre for Diabetes. He said that more collaboration is underway with institutions such as Oxford University and Imperial Colleges of UK.
Through the Consultative workshop, the MRC proposes to launch a collaborative research programme on diabetes to address the diabetes epidemic from a research perspective with emphasis on the participatory approach. All relevant stakeholders working on diabetes have been invited to participate in the Consultative workshop. Discussions revolved around three themes namely: socio-economic dimension of diabetes in Mauritius, traditional remedies and indigenous knowledge for diabetes in Mauritius and fundamental and applied research on diabetes in Mauritius.