Dementia a concern for the Mauritian authorities /Linley Bignoux

The Minister of Health, Lormus Bundoo stated that the intention of his Ministry is to raise awareness of dementia as “Mauritian health significance” and to have within his Ministry promotion of schemes at both international and domestic levels.

Mr Bundhoo explained that dementia is devastating not only for the people who have it, but also for hospital staff and families.

He also condemned that the lack of responsiveness and sympathy of dementia in most countries has caused stigmatisation and social barriers to diagnosis and care. Although some Mauritian NGO’S (Non –governmental 
organizations) have accused his Ministry of downplaying health policies on the issue in the past, amongst other diseases like diabetes prevalence.

Bundoo did however emphasize that essential action will be taken to make dementia high on Government’s health policy.

“It has also impacted on caregivers, families and societies physically, psychologically and economically. Dementia is a costly condition with regard to the social, economic, and health dimensions, and this overwhelming burden makes dementia a public health priority”, he said.

“Mauritius has to give priority to dementia as it has already a rapidly ageing population,” Bundhoo said.

Officials at the Ministry also outlined further investing in health and social systems to improve care and services for people with dementia and their caregivers, however they did comment on how much money will be allocated to the national health system.

It is expected that the 7 billion Rupees spent last year for elderly persons health by the Ministry will have to be upgraded in next year’s Health budget. Minister Bundoos recent comments come as a recently prepared report 
entitled, Dementia: A Public Priority, a joint report undertaken by World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK based Alzheimer’s disease International released in early June.

Moreover, one of the report’s findings highlighted the need for an enhanced service for people with dementia with emphasis on speedy diagnosis, within a receptive national health and social care structure 
within the islands public and private hospitals .

Dementia is a syndrome that disturbs cognitive ability, behavioural patterns and overall aptitude to accomplish common everyday activities; it is more predisposed to the elderly.
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Although, Africa has a low prevalence rate, mild dementia is seen to go unnoticed in developing countries because of cultural differences and lower levels of exposure to risk factors like smoking and cardio-vascular disease in the region, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most regular form of dementia contributing up to 70% of cases. The number of individuals living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at over 35 million, and that figure is set double by 2030.

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