Diabetes awareness: Past, Present & Future

In seventies, number of diabetic patients were very less, specialist or super specialist clinic related to diabetics were not in existence even in metro city, but ending of this decade, increasing number of diabetics attract the attention of the senior and concerning doctor towards diabetes.

While institutional activities started since 1956, when Dr. MMS Ahuja established department of diabetes & endocrinology in AIIMS, New Delhi. Dr. Mosses in Madras Medical college, Madras and some other doctors in other parts of country. But in private sector Prof. M. Vishwanathan starts exclusive diabetic clinic in a tent in Eighties. Primary epidemiological survey results were showing approximate 2% population are diabetic, this number compelled the pioneer doctor’s to think how to combat this problem, so they thought collectively to take initiative and start awareness against diabetes in south and middle part (coastal area ) of India very first time. In this series, exclusive week days diabetes OPD started in institutions, screening through GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test), Blood sugar & Urine Sugar; but find these efforts are insufficient, and it needed much more. So some basic literature on sign and symptoms of diabetes were prepared in general and regional languages and started distribution through OPD's.

Gradually some hospitals and private clinic started diabetes awareness campaign, by free camps initially only blood sugar levels were tested, but after due course of time eye, heart and foot care facilities added and concerning basic literature were also distributed with primary symptoms to know early diabetes complications. But doctors sensed very soon that camp attended patient took the literature, had a very casual look, they folded the literature and put in pocket or bag, but rarely gave proper attention. The main reason of this casual approach by patients was because most of them were not ready to accept the disease, and didn't knew the severity and complications of diabetes.

Even after the best communication by doctors, a group of known diabetics were not following the proper compliance of diet, drug and exercise, simultaneously people around them did not help to encourage them to accept the disease.

For example-most of the diabetic patients are using sugar free tea, but eat sweets, some sugar addict diabetics create false hypoglycaemia and consume sweets with many other excuses.

Above efforts are proven insufficient, the doctors were compelled to start work in an organised way and thus diabetic associations, diabetic club, diabetic self care foundation came in existence, concerned doctors started work regularly in organised way by involving print media, and started pilot studies, results were satisfactory; studies shows that awareness are increasing by 8-10% and 10 to 40% were partly aware about diabetes till late nineties.

After nineties, number of diabetic camp increased rapidly with many facilities, "dark side of diabetes and its complications" related articles started publishing in magazines and national news papers, simultaneously some media persons started to understand the severity of diabetes, so Radio and TV talk and discussion by senior doctors took place.

In early twenty first century, a new concept to attract mass people was initiated: rallies, half marathon, and marathon for diabetes awareness; The medical fraternity was successful in increasing awareness about diabetes up to some extent, but again realized that their efforts educate sufficiently, but were partly failed to illiterate society about diabetes.

We realized in our practice, parents are neither understanding the severity nor passing the knowledge of diabetes to the next generation, while their parents and fore fathers were suffering from diabetes. Only those family involve, they have history of causality with close family member. While one should be clear, once you get diabetes then you are ever a diabetic. So every one must try to start early and work towards prevention from diabetes.

future face of diabetes is going to be very crucial, when diabetic complication patients make pressure on public and private sector after 2015. So this is the right time to start future planning.

3 Replies

  • Very informative

  • Very useful insight provided. Most of the patients are not taking the issue seriously enough, and may times taking sweets stealthly, and some people take a jilebi or laddoo after the blood check.

    As pointed out awarenessand education are very important. Prof. Viswanathan has done poineering task in this. Many thanks to him for his contribution to the society.

  • good suggestion..

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