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January 27, 2020

Experts call for launching National Diabetes Prevention Programme


January 27, 2020

Leading diabetologists and internal medicine experts have called for launching a ‘National Diabetes Prevention Programme’ on the pattern of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), the Polio Eradication Initiative and the Aids Control Programme to prevent deaths and disability due to diabetes in Pakistan.

They warned that Pakistan could not deal with the burden of diabetes as it lack trained manpower and resources to deal with the complications of diabetes. They maintained that there could be around 50 million diabetics in Pakistan, many of whom could die and get disabled in coming years.

They suggested that by reducing weight through diet control and exercise, diabetes could be prevented in a large segment of society and called for a national awareness and education drive against diabetes in the country.

They were speaking at the launching ceremony of the Karachi Chapter of Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine (PSIM) at a local hotel on Sunday which was attended and addressed by noted physicians, diabetologists and experts of internal medicine from across Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, eminent diabetologist and International Diabetes Federation (IDF) honorary president Prof Samad Shera said that for over 50 years, he was striving to control diabetes in Pakistan and now he is “glad that admissions in the hospitals due to diabetes are declining in the country”.

“The cheapest and most effective treatment of diabetes is educating people”, Prof Shera said. He called for creating awareness about eating less and a balanced diet, walking more and more and adopting a healthy lifestyle to prevent disability and poor quality of life due to diabetes.

Renowned physician Prof Ejaz Vohra called for having ‘Universal Health Coverage’ for each and every citizen in Pakistan, saying access to quality health facilities and services was the basic right of every Pakistani.

Prof Vohra also called for educating masses about the dangers of having diabetes. In Pakistan, he said, prevention was the only option available to deal with the growing incidence of diabetes and its complications.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore and President of the Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine, Prof Javed Akram, said in countries like Pakistan, which would be the third most populous country in the world in the next thirty years, there was an urgent need to invest in research and collect indigenous data to deal with the increasing disease burden.

“Unfortunately, we have to rely on data and studies of other countries although for our problems, we need our own solutions. The Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine [PSIM] has been established to promote research and find solutions of our health issues and problems”, he said.

Prof Akram informed the audience that after the lockdown of the Indian-occupied Kashmir, the PSIM members established a drug bank and marched towards the Line of Control (LoC) to help their Kashmiri brethren who are in need of medical assistance and remained at LoC for three days despite shelling and cross-border atrocities by the Indian army.

Renowned diabetologist and president of the PSIM’s diabetes chapter, Prof Zaman Shaikh, said diabetes “is silent killer and a painless disease which does not cause any complication for years” but it can result in serious complications and permanent disabilities for the patients.

He maintained that the PSIM would be arranging certificate courses for the general physicians to enhance their understanding of diabetes treatment and management.

Prof Shaikh said awareness about the prevention and control of diabetes would also be promoted through regular activities.

He also made a presentation on ‘New Era in the Management of Diabetes’ and informed the audience about new medicines, insulin, devices and therapies being made available to control and treat diabetes in patients.

He said that in coming days, patients with diabetes would have a lot of options for their treatment. Several other physicians and experts, including Prof Dr Abdul Basit, Prof Ali Muhammad Ansari, Vice Chancellor Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) Prof Bekha Ram, Prof Mashhoor Alam, Prof Qamar Masood, Prof Shabeen Naz Masood, Prof Saeed Hamid, Prof Khalid Mahmood, also spoke.