Rallies, screening programme mark World Diabetes Day
Doctors stress importance of early detection, timely treatment
On World Diabetes Day on Tuesday, hospitals across the city held programmes to spread awareness among residents. This year’s theme is ‘Women & Diabetes — Our right to a healthy future’.
At the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, State Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar presided over an event to mark the day. The Minister said the government had started a programme for the screening of residents for non-communicable diseases in July 2012. As of September 2017, a total of 3,83,96,095 people had been screened and 16,44,577 diagnosed with diabetes, who are now being treated. The hospital also held a rally and saplings were planted, a press release said.
The Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital held a mini-rally, a human chain and a public awareness programme, and released pamphlets for the public, said dean P. Vasanthamani. “Our main focus was diet, exercise and early diagnosis,” she said.
At Rajan Eye Care Hospital, a programme — Rotary Gift of Sight for Diabetic Retinopathy Screening — was launched in association with the Rotary Club of Madras, T. Nagar. Chairman of the hospital Mohan Rajan said that 20% of diabetics develop diabetic retinopathy, and they have a 25 times greater risk of going blind compared to the average person. The condition is symptomless, he said, but early diagnosis is crucial.
Use of AI
The screening programme will use Remidio Fundus on phone, a portable device that a technician uses, and images which are sent via mobile data to the base hospital for diagnosis. “We are now collaborating with Global Mantra Innovation to use artificial intelligence to help diagnose diabetic retinopathy so that the diagnosis can be made faster at the field level, and treatment started,” he said.
Vijay Viswanathan, head of M.V. Diabetes Hospital, Royapuram, who was also at the event, stressed the need for regular check-ups of people, who have diabetes and also for hospitals to ensure they follow up with patients with regard to diet and exercise among other factors. Former chief election commissioner of India N. Gopalaswami was the chief guest.
State Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan inaugurated an awareness programme held by DIWWAAAS. BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan also participated. Founder of the organisation Usha Sriram said they would raise awareness, and educate and empower girls and women on diabetes care with a focus on prevention. The programme will be held simultaneously in 100 cities and a dedicated social media campaign #BeFree has also been launched.