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Project to check diabetes in rural India launched

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Mar 23: To address the problem of steady increase in prevalence of diabetes in rural areas of India, 'Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF)'s Rural Diabetes Project' was launched today with the support of World Diabetes Foundation.

The Rs 5.20-crore project will be implemented in a cluster of villages at Chunampet in Kancheepuram district for a period of four years.

''The Chunampet model, which would be an example of inter-sectoral collaboration involving areas of health, agriculture and economy, offered a model for replication in other parts of the country to enhance economic, social and health status of rural communities,'' MDRF Chairman and Diabetologist V Mohan told a press conference here.

Citing a World Health Organisation report, he said the 'epidemic of diabetes' was not only observed in urban areas where its prevalence had steadily risen to between 12 to 16 per cent of adults over 20 years of age, but also in rural areas where it had increased from 1.5 per cent in the 1970s to around three to seven per cent now.

This represented a 400 per cent increase in prevalence of the disease in rural areas of India during the last 30 years, he noted.

Stating the number diabetics in India was actually higher in rural areas (21.6 million) compared to urban areas (16.8 m) as 72 per cent of India's population lived in villages, Dr Mohan said it was a paradox that nearly all efforts were currently focussed on urban areas.

Dr Mohan said the objectives of the project were to prevent diabetes at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, to encourage community participation and empower local people, to screen for diabetes and diabetic complications. The project will be implemented in four phases. The first phase involved setting up a Rural Diabetic Centre at Chunampet which will serve as a nodal rural centre for non-communicable diseases in India.

Phase two included education and traning of local women/health workers and self-help groups for dissemination of knowledge of diabetes, he added.

He said about two lakh people would be educated about diabetes.

About 50,000 people will be screened for diabetes and pre-diabetes condition, while 3,000 patients will be screened for complications.

Dr Anil Kapur, Vice Chairman of World Diabetes Foundation (WDH), a Danish NGO, said the Foundation would contribute Rs 2.20 crore towards the project.

The WDF, the largest funding organisation for diabetes, had been implementing 75 projects in 57 developing countries, including Bolivia and Mongolia.


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