Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death in Mauritius, accounting to 81% of mortality rate, said the Minister of Health and Quality of Life this morning in Pointe aux Piments.
In his address at the opening of a validation workshop of a project entitled ‘National Assessment of Health Systems Challenges and Opportunities for better NCD outcomes, Dr Husnoo cited the NCDs Survey 2015 which shows that 25% of the Mauritian population suffers from NCDs while in developed countries 10% of the population are affected by NCDs. Hence the need to re-assess the health system so as to support and accelerate improved NCDs outcomes, he cautioned.
Dr Husnoo recalled that Mauritius has experienced rapid industrialisation and general improvements in living standards over the past decades along with epidemiological transition. This has resulted in a shift in the main causes of deaths from communicable to NCDs which has affected all segments of the population. This situation has compelled us to review and reorient our policies in a more desirable manner to meet the NCD Global Action Plan which calls for a 25% reduction in premature mortality by 2025, he said.
The Minister reiterated Government’s commitment to tackle NCDs and implement strategies and treatment for people affected by this epidemic. In a bid to subsist and enhance the delivery of services in the medium and long term to the population, it is important that the weaknesses and challenges in our health system are addressed, he pointed out. The challenges include medication, burden of an ageing population, technological innovation and treatment to infrastructural projects in our health systems, he added.
Minister Husnoo underscored the need to re-engineer the entire health system ranging from service provision to financing, information generation, ensuring adequate supply of pharmaceuticals products, enhancing human resources to improving facility management and performance monitoring in a holistic and comprehensive manner.
The WHO Representative, Dr Laurent Musango, underlined that NCDs are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Of 56.9 million global deaths in 2016, 40.5 million, or 71%, were due to NCDs. According to him, the leading causes of NCD deaths in 2016 were cardiovascular diseases (17.9 million deaths, or 44% of all NCD deaths), cancers (9.0 million, or 22% of all NCD deaths), and respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (3.8 million of 9% of all NCD deaths). Diabetes caused another 1.6 million deaths, he added.
In light of the growing burden of NCDs, and their significant economic and social impact, WHO Member States at the World Health Assembly in 2012 committed themselves to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by 25% by 2025. This is a landmark commitment towards accelerating health gains globally and in our region, he said.
Referring to the assessment of health systems carried out in Mauritius, Dr Musango outlined that it will help in a participatory approach for healthy policy development adding that the report will be shared in the African region and SADC countries which share common epidemiological situation as in Mauritius.
The Project
With a view to having a more integrated and horizontal approach for Health on the path towards Universal Health Coverage, WHO Country Office in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, has conducted an in-depth analysis of National Assessment of Health Systems Challenges and Opportunities for Better Non-Communicable Disease Outcomes in Mauritius.
The process was initiated in July 2017 and implemented over a one-year period. A multidisciplinary team was set up to carry out the exercise using a participatory approach under the supervision of the Ministry and WHO.
A preliminary report was developed and presented to wider stakeholder group during a one-day workshop held last year in November. Building on the situation analysis, preliminary report and discussion held last year in the workshop, the report has been synthesised. During the validation workshop, stakeholders will validate the findings of the report and participants will have opportunity to provide their valuable feedback.

Source: Government of Mauritius