THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A family of doctors traveled 3500 km from Jammu to Kanyakumari, covering 14 states on wheels, with an objective of creating awareness about diabetes.
During their trip, the family sensitised doctors about sparing a few minutes to counsel patients on diet and life style modifications required to check the spread of diabetes. With one diabetes linked death being reported every six seconds across the world, the situation is extremely alarming.
Diabetes today is a major cause of blindness, heart attacks and kidney-related problems. "In such a situation it is very important to have disease prevention and awareness programmes starting from the grassroots level to top. We are trying to contribute in our own way in spreading awareness about diabetes," said Dr Smita Joshi, one of family members.
She said creating awareness early on among people about lifestyle, encouraging people with diabetes to modify diet and daily routine can be of great help in reducing the cost that is involved in treating the disease at a later stage. "Whereever we go we appeal to doctors to spend a few minutes with the patients, create awareness about physical activity and healthy diet which should be practiced cutting across all age groups. For instance one should take increase in waist circumference or abdominal obesity as an alarming sign and take immediate measures to prevent the onset of diabetes," said Dr Shuklaben Raval.
The theme finalised by International Diabetes Federation for 2019 is "family and diabetes". The campaign of the family was flagged off from the venue of Diabetes India 2019 national conference at Jaipur on February 28 and it concluded in Kanyakumari on March 13. On Thursday the team was felicitated by diabetologist Dr Jothydev Kesavadev at his Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. The team members also shared their experiences with him.
Throughout the journey the doctor family called for comprehensive strategy involving treatment modalities, education, awareness and research to counter the growing incidence of diabetes in the country.
"Our grandfather late Dr Vasdevbhai Raval taught us to give back to society in whatever way we can. He used to treat patients free. With patients waiting in queues running up to two km without food, he, too, avoided eating food and just had milk. My father Dr Anil Bhai Raval followed his message and now we all are committed to carry it forward," said Dr Smita. In their native place Unjha in Mehsana district of Gujarat, the family has been carrying forward the tradition of providing treatment to the poor sections of society.
The family is also supporting people with Type-1 diabetes, a form of diabetes mainly affecting kids and teenagers. "Our mother Bharatiben Raval helped the children with glucometers and she is constantly creating awareness among parents and caretakers about monitoring sugar levels at regular intervals," said Dr Smitha.
The latest to join the family's crusade against database were Smita and Shuklaben's sons Raja Joshi and Mann Pancholi, both budding doctors. They accompanied their parents through the journey, leaving their classes.
During the tour, the family met the representatives of NGOs working in the field of diabetes prevention and addressed students in medical colleges across many states. At every place they appealed to educate parent and teachers and spread awareness about the disease.
"One of the major focuses should be on diabetes management. There must be constant monitoring of glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure. It is a joint effort of dietitians and diabetes educators. Drugs, diet and exercise should go together," said Dr Smita.
The family has decided to document the entire trip, create booklets, video and audio clips to reach out to maximum number of people....