The National Cancer Registry Report 2022 and a host of activities, organised by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in the context of the World Cancer Day, commemorated annually on 04 February, were launched, this morning, at the Plaza, in Rose-Hill. These activities aim at raising awareness on the importance of regular screening and early diagnosis for cancer, as well as promoting the adoption of a healthy lifestyle among the population.
The three-year campaign focusing on helping to “Close the care gap” completes this year, under the theme “Together, we challenge those in power”.
The Minister of Social Integration, Social Security and National Solidarity, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo; the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal; the Parliamentary Private Secretary, Mrs Marie Sandra Monia Mayotte; the Member of National Assembly, Mr Ivan Leslie Collendavelloo; the World Health Organisation Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia; and other personalities attended the event.
In his keynote address, Minister Jagutpal stressed on the imperativeness of closing the care gap in a bid to provide better, more equitable and easily accessible cancer treatment. He indicated that according to the National Cancer Registry, 3,201 new cancer cases were registered in 2022 in Mauritius. This represents an average of 10 cases per day, he remarked. Moreover, the Health Minister deplored that in the same year, some 1,577 cancer-induced deaths were registered.
Dr Jagutpal underpinned that the prostate cancer and the breast cancer are more prevalent among men and women respectively. The average age to become diagnosed with cancer is 63 years for men and 59 years for women, he added. The Health Minister further dwelt on the principal causes of cancer encompassing cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet and inadequate physical activity. Hence, he urged all Mauritians to embrace a healthy lifestyle so as to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Speaking of the efforts of his Ministry in the fight against cancer, Dr Jagutpal stated that the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, ‘Gardasil’, will be administered to students in schools as from tomorrow, and that the state-of-the-art modern Cancer Hospital at Solferino will be fully operational by April this year.
For her part, Minister Jeewa-Daureeawoo highlighted that the dissemination of information and education on healthy living as well as regular screening and early diagnosis are pivotal to successfully preventing and combatting cancer. Additionally, she shared that the Fond Solidarité Nationale, operating under the aegis of her Ministry, grants a one-off financial aid to individuals diagnosed with cancer, and that an estimated Rs 30 million have been disbursed in this endeavour. The Social Security Minister also recalled that 361 doctors attached with her Ministry effect regular domiciliary visits to bed-ridden elderly and disabled patients.
As for Mrs Mayotte and Mr Collendavelloo, they warned that anyone can fall prey to cancer. On this score, they called on the Mauritians to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
For Dr Ancia, the cancer care gap is a pertinent issue that can be resolved through more equality in and accessibility to routine screening and early diagnosis. She also pointed out the disparities in terms of the proportion of cured cases between developed and developing countries.