Open Science Research Excellence

Smita S D Goorah

Publications

3

Publications

3
16339
Perceptions of Health Status and Lifestyle Health Behaviors of Poor People in Mauritius
Abstract:

In Mauritius, much emphasis is put on measures to combat the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Health promotion campaigns for the adoption of healthy behaviors and screening programs are done regularly by local authorities and NCD surveys are carried out at intervals. However, the health behaviors of the poor have not been investigated so far. This study aims to give an insight on the perceptions of health status and lifestyle health behaviors of poor people in Mauritius. A crosssectional study among 83 persons benefiting from social aid in a selected urban district was carried out. Results showed that 51.8% of respondents perceived that they had good health status. 57.8% had no known NCD whilst 25.3% had hypertension, followed by diabetes (16.9%), asthma (9.6%) and heart disease (7.2%).They had low smoking (10.8%) and alcohol consumption (6.0%) as well as high physical activity prevalence (54.2%). These results were significantly different from the NCD survey carried out in the general population. Consumption of vegetables in the study was high. Overweight and obesity trends were however similar to the NCD survey report 2009. These findings contrast with other international studies showing poor people having poor perceptions of health status and unhealthy behavioral choices. Whether these positive health behaviors of poor people in Mauritius arise out of choice or whether it is because the alternative behavior is too costly remains to be investigated further.

Keywords:
Health behavior, non-communicable diseases, poor people.
2
16340
Perceptions of Health Risks amongst Tertiary Education Students in Mauritius
Abstract:

A personal estimate of a health risk may not correspond to a scientific assessment of the health risk. Hence, there is a need to investigate perceived health risks in the public. In this study, a young, educated and healthy group of people from a tertiary institute were questioned about their health concerns. Ethics clearance was obtained and data was collected by means of a questionnaire. 362 students participated in the study. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol drinking, illicit drugs, unsafe sex and potential carcinogens were perceived to be the five greatest threats to health in this cohort. On the other hand natural health products, unemployment, unmet contraceptive needs, family violence and homelessness were felt to be the least perceived health risks. Nutrition-related health risks as well as health risks due to physical inactivity and obesity were not perceived as major health threats. Such a study of health perceptions may guide health promotion campaigns.

Keywords:
Health promotion, perceptions of health risks, university students.
1
16337
Spreading Dynamics of a Viral Infection in a Complex Network
Abstract:

We report a computational study of the spreading dynamics of a viral infection in a complex (scale-free) network. The final epidemic size distribution (FESD) was found to be unimodal or bimodal depending on the value of the basic reproductive number R0 . The FESDs occurred on time-scales long enough for intermediate-time epidemic size distributions (IESDs) to be important for control measures. The usefulness of R0 for deciding on the timeliness and intensity of control measures was found to be limited by the multimodal nature of the IESDs and by its inability to inform on the speed at which the infection spreads through the population. A reduction of the transmission probability at the hubs of the scale-free network decreased the occurrence of the larger-sized epidemic events of the multimodal distributions. For effective epidemic control, an early reduction in transmission at the index cell and its neighbors was essential.

Keywords:
Basic reproductive number, epidemic control, scalefree network, viral infection.