Speaking at a conference on diabetes in South Asia, Azad said, "To test 25 or 30 crore people through this will cost the government around Rs.1,500 to Rs.1600 crore (Rs.15 to Rs.16 billion) and this the health ministry can not afford. I have asked the department of health research to develop cost effective test sticks."
He acknowledged that India had a huge burden as far as diabetes was concerned. With over 30 million diabetes patients, India is often referred to as the diabetes capital of the world. Currently glucometer sticks cost Rs 30 apiece, but Azad wants these to come down to Rs 5-6.
"We will also ask the people to go for self checking of sugar level in blood through these sticks. Once they know about their sugar level, they can go and seek a doctor's help," he explained.