There are virtually no epidemiological studies from India assessing the level of awareness of diabetes in the whole population.
According to latest figures of the World Diabetes Foundation, the number of people with diabetes in India is expected to go up to 80 million by the year 2030 from the present figure of 32 million.
Diabetes is rapidly emerging as a major public health problem in urban areas of developing countries like India, and therefore, urgent steps are needed to focus attention on the consequences of improperly treated diabetes, Dr. Vikas Alhuwalia, a well known diabetologist and President of the Diabetes Care Foundation of India told ANI over phone.
He told ANI that these awareness camps are being held in cooperation with senior citizen associations on a monthly basis, and the response to them has been exciting. He said that his objective was to invite "various organisations, including government agencies and corporates to come forward and interact" with experts like himself to understand the dangers posed by diabetes to all age groups.
"Nowadays, people are picking up diabetes at an early stage. We need to identify who has the disease, especially in the case of youngsters. Earlier, we use to deal with diabetics who were in their 40s and 50s, now we get cases of people who are in their late 20s or early 30s. We need to treat it and prevent complications that arise with the disease at an early stage," said Dr. Alhuwalia.
When asked what were the factors responsible for the onset of diabetes, Dr. Alhuwalia told ANI that stress, lifestyle changes, obesity, physical inactivity and the wanton consumption of junk food, especially by youngsters, were key factors contributing to diabetes.
Referring specifically to the initiatives being taken up through his awareness camps, he said that the first camp had been held on November 16 this year, on the eve of World Diabetes Day, at which about 100 patients were present, and received free medicines for diabetes and blood pressure and free educational material related to diabetes.
He said that the Diabetes Care Foundation Of India is a registered charitable society, which aims to promote health awareness among the common masses in the field of diabetes.
At the awareness camps, he said patients would be offered the following facilities: free blood sugar check up; free consultation with diabetes specialist; free consultation with neurologist for diabetic neuropathy, including the use of bio-thesometer; free consultation with an eye specialist for diabetic retinopathy; medicines for diabetes and blood pressure at concessional rates; Insulin vials and insulin pens at concessional rates (pens being offered at Rs.600 as opposed to a market rate of Rs.1200 and vials being offered at Rs.150 as opposed to a market rate of Rs.185), besides 35 insulin strips at a concessional rate of Rs.2200 as opposed to a market rate of Rs.2900, and glucometers for checking blood sugar at concessional rates.
He said that patients attending these camps should come with the latest blood sugar fasting and PP of diabetes patients (if already a known diabetic). He said that patients interested in attending these camps could seek inquiries on his e-mail.