Blog: Weakest Link in our Health System - Health Education
For a country that has a Welfare State system ambitious enough to provide not only mass-medicine but also state-of-the-art technology and expertise for complex ailments it is very sad that our nutritionists and the preventive agency of non-communicable disease (NCD) sector have failed miserably to sustain the curative sector.
This country has a rich culture and its habits and customs are so deeply ingrained that while they constitute the pride of our heritage as binding, cementing factors, they also carry the seeds of our weaknesses. The Asian food habits contain a proclivity towards NCD. The quick pace of life, the attainment of gender parity and the force of a consumer society have deteriorated an already life-threatening food habit. It is unfortunate that the preventive section of the MOH has not brought any critical enlightenment to those who are responsible for our food habits. So, our cultural heritage has remained untouched and we have for years gone on consuming in a way that is seriously jeopardising our health.
It is still not clear to the diabetic what he should eat in the morning and how much he should eat at night. It is at the same time a pity that our shops, supermarkets do not grant patients of NCD’s access to a variety of brands that match their pathologies. If they do, the prices are meant for an upper bourgeoisie. How practical would it be for the MOH to print lists of consumables with alternatives and varieties for the different meals the diabetic or the patient of high blood pressure should take? In the same way is there a suggested list of options that the senior citizens should have at hand to guide them in their daily choices before they master new food habits. We eat very blindly, trusting the millennial wisdom of our forebears without realizing that we are not our ancestors.
Every patient of NCDs must be given a printed copy on the occasion of appointments with doctors.
There are not enough programmes on how to cook for patients of major diseases in Mauritius. After the Medpoint debate, the idea of geriatric medicine seems to have become taboo in this country. The old are on the media treated as depressive patients who need to be taken for picnics among peers, or as beggars who have to be fed with food bombs like briani among doddering colleagues proud of silver hair. Can’t the media start programmes for the old so that they may learn to look after themselves?
It is a truism that in a world of fast communication technology, people miss the most important ideas that need vehicles of popular dissemination. The Mauritian is an easy prey of trends, fashions. He can create habits and break them. We need to master the means to choose the most effective way of reaching and transforming the mind of the many sick Mauritians craving for assistance.