Health Care and Wellness
Older people in Mauritius are living healthily longer, driven in large part by a long-established, high-quality public health care system. The Ministry of Health has structured a hierarchal system of community and area health clinics on the main island such that there is a health facility within three kilometers of all homes. Universal public health care is free of charge in Mauritius from the level of primary health to regional hospitals, and free ambulance service is provided for urgent needs. As demand grows amid changing family structures and extended lifespans, the government, together with NGOs, has been working to improve long-term care and has made progress on regulating the country’s limited network of formal long-term care facilities to ensure a higher quality of care.
Shifting Focus towards Non-Communicable Diseases
As infectious diseases have become less prevalent, the public health care system has shifted its focus over the past two decades to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which today account for 80 percent of the health budget. The country offers free screening for NCDs, and people can receive NCD tests in any health center in five health regions. Mauritius has adopted the World Health Organization’s 2008-2013 Action Plan on non-communicable diseases, and has set up an international advisory committee to advise on preventing and controlling diabetes. Human resources, protocols, and guidelines in place, but a 2016-2017 WHO report noted that access, integration, and coordination still need improvement, and the organization has provided funding for training on diabetes care and provided diabetes-related supplies. The Mauritian government is in the process of implementing a National Service Framework for diabetes, focused on prevention of diabetes and its complications, and ameliorating the lives of those with related complications. It added a sugar tax to soft drinks in 2013, and has national action plans on tobacco smoking, physical activity, and nutrition.