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World Diabetes Day Brings India’s Diabetes Challenge To The Fore

February 05, 2018 | posted in Social Services | posted by : Manappuram Finance

On November 14, India celebrated Children’s day and also marked the World Diabetes day. In 1922, Frederick Banting discovered insulin and today we acknowledge his work by spreading awareness about diabetes on his birthday.
India now holds the unwelcome distinction of the world diabetes capital with as many as 70 million people suffering from the disease, a number projected to increase to 120 million in the next 20 years. The implications are grim. In a poor country like ours, the average diabetic patient is estimated to spend about Rs 25,000 annually to manage the disease and its associated complications. It has even been reported that diabetes is an underlying cause in 50 per cent of adult deaths in India.   Globally, the prevalence of diabetes has doubled since 1980 rising from 4.7 percent to 8.5 percent in the adult population while the total health expenditure among adults due to the disease is estimated at USD 673 billion. 
What is the disease about?
Diabetes is a chronic disease occurring when the pancreas is unable to make insulin or when the body is unable to make proper use of the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that allows glucose from the food we eat to pass from the blood stream into the cells in the body to produce energy. All the carbohydrates we consume is broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells. The inability to produce insulin or make proper use of it leads to elevated glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycaemia). Over the long term, high glucose levels lead to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
The most common is type 2 diabetes, which occurs usually in adults when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when it doesn’t make enough insulin. In the last three decades, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen sharply across the world and across all income groups. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself. A Healthy diet, physical activity and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. In addition diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with medication, regular screening and treatment for complications.
The Indian challenge
A recent study that covered 57,000 people across 15 states and published by the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal has reported a worrying trend of poorer people especially in urban areas falling prey to the disease. This is of grave concern in India where access to health insurance or social medicine is limited and even poor people pay for treatment out of their own pockets.
The mean prevalence of diabetes across all 15 states was 7.3 per cent, with the rates varying from 4.3 per cent in Bihar to 13.6 per cent in Chandigarh. Almost half of the people in the study did not know they had diabetes until they were tested. On an average, diabetes was twice as common in urban areas (11.2 per cent) than in rural areas (5.2 per cent). Living in a stressful urban environment, unhealthy dietary practices and relatively sedentary lifestyle leading to weight gain and body fat were the factors contributing to the increasing risk of diabetes. Further, the number of people with diabetes in rural areas was much higher than what was identified in previous studies. With nearly 70 per cent of population living in rural areas, even a small increase will mean several million more requiring chronic care in areas with poor access to health care.
Medical health experts assert that regular check-ups and timely detection plays a vital role in controlling and managing the problem. Unfortunately, most patients tend to defer tests that can detect the disease and delay treatment that often leads to complications.
Manappuram partners with Lions Clubs International to launch diabetic awareness campaign
On November 14, Lions Club International (LCI) marked World Diabetes Day with the global launch in New Delhi of a comprehensive campaign to increase awareness about the disease. Earlier, following the election of Dr.Naresh Aggarwal as its International President (incidentally, only the third Indian to ascend to this high office), Lions Clubs International had adopted diabetes as a long-term commitment that will involve support to diabetes education, treatment, research and early detection. And Manappuram Finance Ltd. is officially LCI’s corporate partner to drive the campaign in India.
The highlight of the campaign, as originally proposed, was a one kilometre walkathon from Vijay Chowk to India Gate in New Delhi. However, this programme had to be postponed because of the smog that enveloped Delhi during that week. The walkathon will now take place on December 25 this year. A host of other programmes went ahead as scheduled. On November 13, international delegates and LCI’s Board members met at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi, where Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Union Cabinet Minister, addressed the audience on the importance of implementing an actionable plan to fight diabetes in India. Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Union Minister of State and a well-known Diabetologist, delivered a keynote speech focused on the repercussions of the disease. He also inaugurated a Mobile Diabetes Centre for the city. On this occasion, LCI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Diabetes Foundation to reaffirm its crusade against diabetes.
Seven world class health parks with open gymnasiums have been set up for the benefit of the common people of Delhi and I was invited to inaugurate the first of these, at Pitampura, on 13th November. Earlier, between the 9th and 13th November, 35 Yoga Camps were held across Delhi with the support of Patanjali Yogpeeth, which saw participation by more than 15,000 people.  On 14 November, a global seminar on Diabetes was held at the Vigyan Bhavan auditorium that was addressed by Dr. T.C. Gehlot, Hon’ble Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment. 
Free Diabetic screening camps were organized across the Delhi NCR region in association with Apollo Hospitals to identify individuals with diabetes and refer them to qualified healthcare professionals for additional assessment (without cost to the patient). “Nukkad Nataks” or street plays were held at 75 locations across Delhi to increase awareness about the disease among ordinary people.
These are early days but already, LCI has established a world record for ‘attempting the largest Diabetes awareness lesson’ targeting approximately one lakh people across India. The Certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records being the official confirmation was handed over by its adjudicator to LCI’s International President Lion Dr. Naresh Aggarwal at a press conference held at the Taj Palace, New Delhi, on 25th November 2017.
LCI’s new signature cause – diabetes prevention and control campaign – will strengthen global awareness of diabetes and encourage people to lead active lifestyles to stay healthy and ward off the disease. The campaign’s activities are aimed at spreading the message of leading an active lifestyle for diabetes prevention, management and control. The members of Lion Clubs worldwide, a 1.4 million strong community, will promote this call to action under the inspirational leadership of its International President Dr.Naresh Aggarwal. At stake is a better life for millions around the world who suffer from this debilitating, lifestyle-crippling disease.
Shri V.P. Nandakumar is MD&CEO of Manappuram Finance Ltd.

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