In the Indian Ocean, located just northeast of Réunion and east of Madagascar, lies the archipelago of Mauritius, a land mass totaling just half the size of Rhode Island. Previously held by the British, French and Dutch, Mauritius gained independence in 1968 and has since grown from an agriculturally-based, low-income economy to a diversified, middle-income economy. As of 2015, life expectancy for the country’s 1.2 million inhabitants has reached 74 years, and only non-communicable diseases are now the most common causes of death. Here are the top diseases in Mauritius:

Ischemic Heart Diseases
A disease that involves a decreased blood flow to the heart, ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, was the deadliest of the top diseases in Mauritius in 2015. This has been a pattern for the past ten years. In 2014 alone, the disease took 1,148 lives. Fortunately, the disease had decreased in prevalence by 9.5 percent since 2005.

Diabetes, a disease of permanently altered insulin levels and blood sugar, was the second highest cause of death in Mauritius as of 2015. In 2005, diabetes was only the third most common cause of death, but throughout the decade, deaths from the disease had climbed in prevalence by a staggering 65.1 percent, most likely due to a combination of recent changes in dietary habits after the introduction of fast food, lack of exercise and genetic predisposition.

Conscious of the growing health concern, the Mauritian government has established a National Service Framework for Diabetes. The goal of the organization is to lay out strategies for prevention and standards of care to be implemented.

Cerebrovascular Disease
A disease of cerebral circulation, deaths by cerebrovascular disease in Mauritius had dropped from the second most common cause of death in 2005 to the third most common cause of death in 2015, as the disease had decreased in prevalence by 9.5 percent.

In the newly industrialized economy, deaths by both ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease have decreased. At the same time, diabetes, the disease that has rapidly picked up speed, is being addressed by the Mauritian government. The country, therefore, is quickly becoming a foreign aid success story, with a responsive government ready to address the top diseases in Mauritius.

Shannon Golden

Photo: Flickr