Africa-Press – Mauritius. The National Nutrition Survey 2022, organised by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with international institutions, will be conducted from 23 July to the 10 August 2022 at 16 different sites across Mauritius.
In that context, a training programme was launched, this morning in Port Louis, for Survey Staff who will be collecting data on blood pressure, blood specimen, height, weight, as well as waist and neck circumference.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, and the Director Health Promotion and Research, Dr Sudhir Kowlessur, were present.
In his address, Dr Jagutpal dwelt on the objectives of the Survey 2022 which are to study food consumption patterns and assess the nutritional status of the population with a view to address diet and nutrition related health problems and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the country.
It will also help evaluate the incidence of malnutrition and its related factors among the Mauritian population especially after the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, he said.
Furthermore, Minister Jagutpal underlined that the findings of the National Survey will not only serve the purpose of monitoring and evaluating progress made by comparing data with the previous nutrition surveys but will also help the Ministry of Health and Wellness to address the shortcomings which will be identified.
The survey will also help to evaluate the ongoing Nutrition programmes as specified in the National Plan of Action on Nutrition 2016-2020 and will provide valuable information which will strengthen nutrition services, Action Plans and programme delivery, he added.
He recalled that the last National Nutrition Survey carried out in 2012 provided much valuable information that formed the basis for policy-planning and implementation of nutrition programmes during the last decade.
He observed that since then, food availability and consumption patterns have changed adding that populations around the world are increasingly exposed to food that influence the risk of developing NCDs.
This is mainly due to economic and income growth, urbanisation and globalisation, he added. Speaking about the new Food Bill 2022, he underlined that it was enacted on 05 July 2022 in a bid to revamp the previous Food Law.
Its main objectives, he enumerated, are to promote healthier eating habits, and set new standards for the control of trans-fatty acids, saturated fats and salt in specific foods, which are linked to the increased risk of several NCDs, in particular, cardiovascular diseases.
Dr Jagutpal also pointed out that the Ministry of Health and Wellness is coming up with the Mauritius Food Standards Agency Bill 2022 which will soon be introduced in the National Assembly.
“The ultimate goal of this Agency will be to ensure that people can trust that the food they buy and eat is safe and healthy.
The Agency will act as a one stop shop cutting across the whole food supply chain from production to consumption and will ensure that information regarding food safety and nutritional value of food are available both to Food Business Operators and the population”, he said.
The National Nutrition Survey 2022 The Survey 2022 will be carried out in 16 clusters throughout the country. Two teams will be involved simultaneously working daily at two different sites.
The exercise of enumeration, which has been completed, was carried out in April / May 2022. A total of 15 clusters have been randomly selected by Statistics Mauritius and the Department of Health Statistics of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
A 16th cluster has been included into the sample to cater for households of Chinese origin. The 16 clusters are well-demarcated geographical areas within the nine districts of Mauritius.
The population size, in urban and rural regions, has been considered during this exercise. About 5,000 households were visited in the 16 clusters and some 15,000 persons were enlisted.
Some 2,700 persons aged between five to 74 years have been randomly selected to participate in the Survey as follows: five to 11 yrs old – 600; 12 to 19 yrs old – 600; 20 to 49 yrs old – 800; and 50 to 74 yrs old – 700.
The Survey, funded by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, will obtain technical assistance from Monash University in Australia; University of Helsinki in Finland; Umea University Hospital in Sweden; the Imperial College in UK; and the World Health Organisation.