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MKRMS seminar: Experts call for work on general diabetes prevention programme

November 14, 2021

LAHORE: It is a matter of concerned that diabetes is on the rise in Pakistan and the country ranks third in the world in terms of the people living with diabetes

These views were expressed by the speakers at a seminar organised by Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Memorial Society (Jang Group of Newspapers), in connection with World Diabetes Day Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Punjab, and Ferozsons Laboratories Ltd.

Dr Haroon Jahangir, director general, Health Services Punjab, the chief guest of the occasion. The panel of experts included Prof Dr Abbas Raza, consultant endocrinologist, Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Prof Dr Khurshid Ahmed Khan, head of Department of Medicine, Fatima Memorial Hospital and Pakistan Endocrine Society former president, Prof Dr Imran Hassan Khan, chairman, Department of Medicine, Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Prof Dr Khadija Irfan, head of Diabetes Centre, Services Institute of Medical Sciences and Services Hospital, Dr Tariq Mian, president, Pakistan Academy Of Family Physicians, Dr Saeed Ahmed, senior vice president, Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians, Ahmed Kamal, regional manager, NCD Programme, Dr Anis Memon from NMC Karachi and Dr Abdul Basit, Survival University Karachi. The event was hosted by MKRMS Chairman Wasif Nagi.

Introductory remarks were delivered by Amir Zafar, senior commercial director, Ferozsons Laboratories Ltd while Usman Khalid Waheed, COO, Ferozsons Laboratories, thanked the experts and other participants in the event and said, “The series of public awareness would be continued as protection of human health is our first duty.” Amir Zafar said that the disease of diabetes was getting alarming with the passage of time. One in ten people in the world and one in four people in Pakistan suffer from it. Dr Haroon Jahangir said precautionary measures should be taken to prevent the disease and manage it.

Dr Syed Abbas Raza said, “We have to work on a general diabetes prevention programme.” Prof Dr Khurshid Ahmad Khan said that diabetes was on the rise. The situation is becoming alarming in the coming days. In 2019, 463 million people will be diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is a huge challenge for us in the 21st century. If this continues, the number of diabetics in the world will increase to 578 million by 2030.

Around 12.5 percent of diabetics can suffer from vision loss and 2.5pc may suffer from stroke. Pakistan is the third largest country in the world in terms of diabetes after China and India. Women are more likely to be obese if their waist is more than 31.5 inches and men are more likely to be obese if their waist is more than 35.5 inches. Excessive consumption of food is one of the causes of diabetes. If the disease is found in a family, all the people of the family need to be careful and they should adopt a healthy lifestyle. He said exercise, healthy food and balanced dies save peple from diseases. He said diabetes awareness campaigns should be launched in the schools, shopping malls, corporate offices, healthcare centres and on the social media. Prof Dr Imran Hassan said that one/third of the patients did not even know that they were suffering from diabetes. Similarly, 80 percent of the patients are from developing countries. “We need to change our habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle,” he stated.

Prof Dr Khadija Irfan said that November 14 was marked as World Diabetes Day and insulin was also discovered on this day. There is an urgent need to spread awareness among the people about precautions. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India have the highest prevalence of diabetes.

Wasif Nagi said most of the patients suffered from mental stress due to diabetes and were afraid of using drugs and insulin. There is an urgent need to raise awareness among the people in this regard. In the early days when insulin and drugs were not discovered, patients lost their lives only a few months after catching the disease. Then, in 1921, Frederick Banting and Charles H Best discovered insulin. There was a glimmer of hope for the diabetics and a reduction in mortality after that. High blood sugar can damage arteries. If blood flow is not good in the body the patients, it cannot reach the organs where it is needed. This situation can cause severe damage to the nerves of the patents. In such cases, the patient may lose his/her eyesight and may become infected in the legs. Blindness and kidney failure may occur, he said. Diabetes is a major cause of disability, heart disease, stroke and amputation, Wasife Nagi said.

Dr Anis Memon said, “We should exercise to avoid stress. Dr Abdul Basit said that the rate of diabetes prevalence in Pakistan was very high. Spreading awareness will make the people aware of the importance of early diagnosis. “In addition, I would like to thank Ferozsons Laboratories for supporting us,” he said. Ahmed Kamal said that Dr Haroon Jahangir was the first to launch Non- Communicable Diseases Programme in Punjab. NCD clinics are operating in 130 district and tehsil hospitals where tests were conducted for diagnosis of diabetes. Now we are also working on gestational diabetes,” he said. Dr. Muhammad Saeed Ahmed said, “There should be training of the family physicians as a patient comes to us first.”

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