Health - The Mauritian Health Minister, Lormus Bundhoo, Friday appealed to local institutions to embark on research work in the field of diabetes, saying that the island offered opportunities for research because of its multi-ethnicity status, representing a microcosm of the world population.
Speaking Friday at a workshop on diabetes in Port-Louis, the Minister said Mauritius was unfortunately among the countries having a high prevalence rate of diabetes in the world.
He said the International Diabetes Federation estimated the prevalence rate of diabetes in the island at 15.53 per cent in 2012.
'Mauritius no longer forms part of the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes but it still has a high prevalence rate of the disease,' he emphasised.
Bundhoo added that over the past few decades there has been an epidemiological shift from infectious to non-communicable diseases, saying that diabetes prevalence rate increased by 60 per cent from 1987 to 2009.
According to him, the high rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes, coupled with those of obesity and hypertension and high levels of smoking, constitute a significant cause of cardiovascular disease and diabetes complications.
He said amendments had been made to the Food Act and control of saturated fats in cooking oils, indicating that the sale of aerated soft drinks and unhealthy snacks has been banned in schools across the country.
Smoking has also been prohibited in all public places and tobacco is not sold to minors. Seven tobacco cessation clinics have been set up in Mauritius.
PANA learnt that diabetes is now regarded as a major public health threat worldwide and it is associated with tremendous human, social and economic impacts.
Today some 285 million people around the world have diabetes and this number is expected to reach 438 million by 2030 unless strong prevention and control programmes are put in place.