The health imperative for women to be screened for breast and cervical cancers was the main focus of the message of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Anil Gayan, yesterday at Sir Harilal Vaghjee Memorial Hall in Port Louis, in the context of the 'free breast and cervical cancers screening for female public officers' initiative.
The health programme is organised by the Public Officers' Welfare Council (POWC) under its health promotion programme with the collaboration of the Non-Communicable Disease Department of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life.
In his address Mr Gayan recalled that in Mauritius, cancer has become the third major health threat after diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. "Cancer represents the third cause of mortality in Mauritius, responsible for 13.3% of deaths in 2015," he said. The Minister added that the overall cancer incidence is on the rise mainly due to ageing of the population but also to rapid lifestyle modifications and environmental changes.
Speaking on the need for cancer screening with a view to saving lives and protecting the health of the individual through early detection, Mr Gayan stated that the screening exercise is very important as cancer at the beginning stage has no symptoms. "It is natural for anyone to entertain a degree of apprehension when going for any medical test, and this apprehension is multiplied a hundred fold when the screening is for cancer, but there is no other option than to be screened," underlined the Minister.
According to Mr Wong the Government, as the largest employer, has the obligation to provide to its employees a safe, healthy and risk free workplace where welfare maximisation prevails over other goals. He pointed out that emphasis has been on the human aspect of Human Resources with deep concern for staff well-being and commitment for mutually beneficial practices.
"To this end, my Ministry has embarked on the implementation of, among others, the Occupational Safety and Health Management System designed to strengthen a safety and health culture in the Civil Service; and the Enhancement of Work Environment Programme to assist Ministries and Departments to make workplaces comfortable and tuned to productivity," Mr Wong said.
Over six hundred applications have been received from female public officers across all Ministries and Departments for screening which will be held at Emmanuel Anquetil Building and Atom House in Port Louis, and at the Civil Service House in Vacoas.