Sweet deal to prevent bitter future

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announces government's ambitious plan to combat gestational diabetes at a programme organised by Jagran Pehel

One of the more serious problems that affects pregnant women in the country and worldwide is gestational diabetes. On Wednesday, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government plans to pump in more money in 100 districts to create awareness about the problem.

Health first: (L to R) Dr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Health Minister, Mr
Mahendra Mohan Gupta, CMD & Managing Editor Dainik Jagran & MP,
Dr Anil Kapur MD, WDF Denmark, and Dr Naresh Trehan, CMD, Medanta,
at the meeting organised by Jagran Pehel, at Hotel Lalit in New Delhi on
Wednesday. PIC/Rajeev Tyagi

The beginning
Speaking in a programme, organised by Pehel--an NGO of Jagran Group--in New Delhi the health minister said, "From April 2012, the government will be investing Rs one lakh each in 100 districts, having more than 10,000 patients in every district. Also, 700 community centres will be made available in these areas," Azad said.
The high-level meeting witnessed participation of a number of renowned doctors from Indian and UN agencies too.

Speaking about the year's charter awareness campaign being launched by Pehel, Mahendra Mohan Gupta, CMD and managing editor, Jagran group said, "We started in 2010. Initially, there were many apprehensions regarding the issue. But, with all the support from the various states, we are able to move on to our next year. We hope that we will get similar support in subsequent years too and the aim of our initiative will be fulfilled."

Maternal healthcare
Apart from diabetes, there were discussions on maternal healthcare also. The various doctors present in the meeting felt that large numbers of young girls are not properly aware about the issue. "The focus should be on adolescent girls, as they are not much aware about the disease and maternal health. A holistic approach should be taken by the government so that appropriate message reaches them," said Frederika Meijer, country representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), India.

India tops the charts
"India has the largest number of diabetic patients. Diabetes epidemic is widely spreading among the younger and weaker sections of the country," said Dr CS Yajnik, director, diabetes unit, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Pune. "Timely action taken now in screening all pregnant women for glucose intolerance, achieving euglycemia in them and ensuring adequate nutrition may prevent in all probability, the vicious circle of transmitting glucose intolerance from one generation to another," said Dr V Seshaiah, advisor GDM project, Govt of Tamil Nadu.
Another issue highlighted by the delegates was the lack of communication among the girls.

"We should focus on large unmet needs of knowledge and information and try to assess that whether we can package the information and knowledge to each community. Channels of communication that work for each of us are also different, so, we should look at breaking the silence of the different departments whether it is at grassroots level of the community," said Dr Subhadra Menon, head communication and advocacy, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Anand Madhab, national head, Jagran Pehel, Dr Naresh Trehan, CMD , Medanta, Venkatesh Srinivasan, assistant representative, UNFPA, India and Sanjay Kumar, IAS, director NRHM, Govt of India were among people present at the meeting. Dr Ambrish Mittal, chairman, Medanta, The Medicity said "Non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes and hypertension often occur during pregnancy and are important contributors to maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality and poor pregnancy outcomes."

Off the blocks
Pehel in association with its parent body Jagran Prakashan Limited and World Diabetes Foundation had implemented a nationwide campaign, 'mass media campaign for awareness on prevention and care of diabetes in India' in 2010. The project was targeted at masses and intended to generate awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding prevention and care of diabetes with an integral component of onsite screening service delivery. This year the agenda was 'Linkages between MDG's, Maternal Health and Non- communicable Diseases with special reference to Diabetes'.

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