The Diabetic Association of India’s (DAI) Calcutta chapter has welcomed the introduction of a free, composite diabetic-care kit for children with Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes. “It’s a critical value addition for young diabetics, who, although making up only five per cent of the total diabetic population in our country, constitute a very special group,” observes Subhankar Chowdhury, honorary secretary of DAI’s city branch.
The HumaCare Junior kit includes syringes, needles, a packet of alcohol swabs, Aastha, a diabetes-care magazine, a cool pouch for storing insulin and, on special recommendation by the doctor, a free glucometer for monitoring blood sugar levels.
Chowdhury, consultant and head, department of endocrinology at SSKM Hospital, feels the anxiety level among young diabetics and their parents is usually higher than older patients. “Their blood glucose readings often fluctuate because of inconsistent eating and exercising habits,” he maintains.
The junior kit service, launched by international drug major Eli Lilly last week, comes free, and is aimed at children with Type 1 diabetes. The company is also introducing education and orientation picnics, in the form of summer and winter camps, for these children.
“Through this service, we are creating a platform for prominent names involved in the treatment of juvenile diabetes to join hands with us in providing customised-care solutions for juvenile diabetics,” explains Rajiv Gulati, CMD, Eli Lilly India.
Under the junior service, juvenile diabetics will also be provided with free insulin-delivery devices, lancing devices and lancets, based on the recommendation of doctors across the country. Free insulin will be provided to “extremely poor children” till they attain 21 years of age. “The service will surely help doctors ensure better management of diabetes among young patients and we hope others will come forward to match this value-addition initiative,” says Chowdhury.
The DAI city branch has recently kicked off a school health survey to identify obesity among children. “The idea is to provide parents of obese schoolchildren with critical inputs to help them cope with the problem better. We also try to interact with the teachers when we come across a diabetic child in school, since awareness is the key, and it is terribly unfair if kids develop any prejudice against their juvenile diabetic classmates,” adds Chowdhury.
Diabetes in kids results from the destruction of their insulin-producing organ, the pancreas. This destruction could result from an immune reaction or a viral infection. Shashank Joshi, consultant diabetologist, Leelavati Hospital, Mumbai, feels: “The field of juvenile diabetes is particularly complex. While on one hand, one has to deal with a range of psychology issues, on the other, there are complex social problems to counter.”