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Diabetes institute planning to expand its activities

Staff Reporter

Thrust on public health aspect of disease

Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Institute of Diabetes (IID), a joint venture of the State Government and the World-India Diabetes Foundation (W-IDF), is expanding its clinical activities, with thrust on the public health dimension of diabetes.

A comprehensive diabetes awareness and education programme was organised in this connection at the institute's centre at Pulayanarkotta on Friday.

The institute, set up four years ago, will soon launch specialty clinics at its city centre on the Public Health Laboratory campus, its director V. Mohanan Nair said.

These include outpatient clinics in diabetic nephropathy (renal damage due to diabetes), diabetic retinopathy (damage to eyes due to diabetes), physical medicine and gestational diabetes (diabetes occurring during pregnancy), he said.

The institute is already running a preventive foot clinic and family diet counselling clinic at the city centre. Improved clinical diagnostic facilities are also being offered through its CMC Vellore-accredited laboratory at reasonable rates.

Another ambitious project planned by the institute is Type I diabetes or juvenile diabetes clinic. Care, treatment and support of children with Type I or insulin-dependent diabetes has been a neglected area. Through careful management, these children can lead near-normal lives, Dr. Nair said.

The institute is in the process of developing an outreach programme to take diabetes screening and management to the community. Physicians will work in cooperation with doctors to open diabetes care centres in primary health centres. These clinics will initially be run by the institute and will, later, be handed over to the primary care physicians after they are sufficiently trained in diabetes detection and management.

"We will focus on the treatment and management of diabetes as a public health problem rather than as a disease which requires tertiary care management. People need to be told that proper diabetes treatment can be accessed at affordable costs," Dr. Nair said.

With the W-IDF having expressed its inability to mobilise funds for it, the institute is now looking to its specialty clinics and services to make it self-sustaining. However, it has submitted a Rs.6-crore project to the Government, to be taken up in a phased manner for developing its basic facilities, so that the institute can become self-sustaining in the next three years.

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