The contribution of nurses in the prevention and control of diabetes was strongly acknowledged during the commemoration of World Diabetes Day on 16 November 2020 in the Ebene Business Park of Mauritius. Dr Hon Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness, recognized the important role of the nurses representing more than fifty percent of the total health workers in the country and worldwide. It was a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to the nurses who are at the forefront of the public health care system with the theme “The Nurses and Diabetes”.
“Unfortunately, the number of diabetes cases worldwide is constantly increasing. We are aware that more emphasis needs to be placed on the prevention of diabetes and the sensitivity of all Mauritians to the risk factors so that we can prevent diabetes,” said Dr Hon KK Jagutpal. , Minister of Health and Wellness.
“One in two people living with diabetes does not even know that he or she is diabetic, and that is worrying because we know what the complications are associated with diabetes,” said Dr. Hon KK Jagutpal added.
The high prevalence of prediabetes in the country is also of concern to the Minister of Health, who highlighted the main risk factors for diabetes, including lack of physical activity, smoking, alcohol abuse and unhealthy diets.
Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius, pointed out in his speech: “We can not do much to change the non-variable risk factors such as genetics, ethnicity and age, but a lot can be done to address the variable risk factors,” such as physical, reduce inactivity, tobacco, alcohol abuse and unhealthy diets “.
“If left unmanaged, diabetes can lead to serious complications, including kidney failure, stroke, lower limb amputations and blindness. In addition, the cost of access to lifelong care for diabetes and other non-communicable diseases can affect millions of households with low-income families ‘in poverty’, said Dr L. Musango
The WHO representative emphasizes that people with diabetes are at higher risk for serious diseases if they are infected with COVID-19. “In South Africa, for example, more than 50% of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital have diabetes. In Mauritius, unfortunately, we have had ten deaths and 9 of them have co-diseases with NCDs,” he said. dr.
Dr. L. Musango recognized the key roles of nurses in providing lifelong care to people with diabetes. He added that investing in health workers contributes to the development of countries, because it contributes to the achievement of the SDG 3 related to health and well-being, and also to other SDGs, such as eradicating poverty, to inclusive and equitable ensure education, achieve gender equality through the employment and empowerment of women, and promote decent work and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
“Nurses play an important role in the diagnosis of diabetes to ensure prompt treatment, to provide self-management training and psychological support to people with diabetes to prevent complications and to address the risk factors for type 2 diabetes to address the condition and complications. to prevent. ” says Dr. L. Musango
The latest national NCD survey among Mauritans aged 25 to 74, showed that 20% of the population is obese and 35% are overweight. Only 23% of the population exercise physically to stay healthy. The prevalence of smoking is 20% and 50% of the population uses alcohol.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness is mobilizing additional resources – financial and human – to address the high incidence of diabetes in the country. Indeed, 250,000 people aged 25 to 75 live in Mauritius with diabetes; represents one in five Mauritians affected by the disease. The Government of Mauritius has invested significantly in foot care services, retinal examination and capacity building of diabetic nurses to prevent complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes.
In order to reduce the high incidence of diabetes, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has adopted new regulations to control the fat content of locally labeled foods. New tobacco regulations will be implemented soon to strengthen the existing tobacco control measures. Much emphasis is placed on the promotion of physical activity in the country through the establishment of health care courses and health promotion clubs. A healthy lifestyle will be introduced at an early age as a topic in schools to inculcate healthy behaviors. A new national NCD survey will also be conducted this year to determine the impact of the measures taken with regard to non-communicable diseases.
Dr. L. Musango called on the country to recognize and promote the role of nurses in health in general and in NCDs, particularly diabetes. “The health workers must also play an adequate role in the prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and education of patients”, said dr. L. Musango concluded.