India Plans Diabetes Test for Villagers Above 35
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05 October 2009
New Delhi, India
The move is aimed at creating awareness among the large rural population about the implications of the disease
The Government of India is planning a mandatory diabetes and hypertension tests through easy and affordable test kits for all villagers above the age of 35 years.
India is home to over 30 million diabetes patients and the country is often referred as the diabetes capital of the world. Changing lifestyle and unhealthy food habits are some of the key reasons for its spread across the country.
“We have a huge burden of diabetes. But awareness level about the disease is very low in rural areas. We are planning to provide a diabetes test to villagers above the age of 35 or 40,” Azad said.
“We are formulating a scheme to facilitate a mandatory check–up of the rural population for diabetes as well as hypertension through grassroots health workers. They can be trained and provided a diagnostic kit to detect diabetes. Simultaneously, a programme for diabetes control can be launched,” he added.
Azad said testing 25 to 30 crore people mainly above the age of 35–40 years through Glucometer will be a tough task. To test 25 or 30 crore people through this will cost the government around Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,600 crore and this Health Ministry cannot afford. I have asked the Department of Health Research to develop cost–effective test sticks, he added, reports IANS.
“If we fail, we are ready for collaboration with private pharma companies to develop it. I will make sure that villagers get the facility,” the Minister added.
The Minister said that since India lives in its villages, a large percentage of these diabetic populations are from the rural areas. Though the urban population has ways and means for regular check–ups of hypertension and diabetes, which is not the case of the rural population.
“Currently, a stick is used in Glucometer which costs around Rs 30 a piece. Once we develop that here, it should not be more than Rs five or six. This will be the easiest way to control the disease,” Azad said, adding that once people know their blood sugar level, they can seek a doctor's help.
Regional media will also be mobilised to take up the cause, Azad said.
“If diabetes cases could be easily detected and awareness created among the rural population about its implications, a substantial dent can be made to this disease,” the Minister said.