Health and Welfare
Government-funded health services and facilities are widespread and accessible to most of the population, although facilities are concentrated in urban centers. According to data from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, between 1972 and 1987 the number of doctors per 100,000 population increased from twenty-seven to eighty. The number of hospital beds decreased from 328 to 285 per 100,000 population in the same period. In 1992 Mauritius had 3,094 hospital beds, and 1,090 physicians (including 152 specialists). Life expectancy at birth in 1994 on the island of Mauritius was 74.6 years for females and 66.6 years for males, for an overall life expectancy of 70.5 years. In 1994 infant mortality stood at 18.4 per 1,000 live births. In its 1991-92 national budget, the government allocated 7.7 percent (about US$57.9 million) to health care.
Malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases prevalent in preWorld War II years have been brought under control by successful public health measures. The major causes of death in 1990, in descending order, were diseases of the circulatory system, diseases of the respiratory system, and cancers. With growing affluence and changes in social conditions, drug abuse has become a problem. By 1993 all the population had easy access to potable water. Nutritional standards are high; the daily per capita caloric intake in 1987 was 2,680, or 124 percent of the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization recommended requirement.
In the early 1980s, forty social welfare centers and thirty village centers provided training in nutrition and maternal and child health care, as well as recreational facilities and courses in home economics and dressmaking. The government provides services, including board and lodging, to the elderly and the infirm. Family welfare allowances are also available for the poor. The Central Housing Authority and the Mauritius Housing Corporation provide funding for low-income housing.
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