Rathin De, a resident of Amtala, Howrah, has been suffering from diabetes for the past 10 years. With several of his organs, including eyes and heart, getting affected, De, an employee of a nationalised bank, goes from one specialist door to another, seeking advice and undergoing periodic check-ups.
Now, however, things could be very different for De and many other diabetics — Westbank Hospital has set up a state-of-the-art diabetes centre that promises it all under one roof.
With 15 per cent of the population suffering from diabetes and the number rising rapidly, doctors say awareness and proper guidance will be the key to treating the disease. The World Health Organisation report has warned that by 2025, the number of diabetics will double from the present three crore.
According to state health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, who inaugurated the Howrah centre on Sunday, diabetes and other ‘lifestyle’ diseases are on the rise in our country and in another two years, these would become major problems for the population. “The maximum number of diabetic patients are found in India,” he added.
Mishra also pointed to a severe shortage of doctors and surgeons capable of treating organ damage. “In India, there are around 500 surgeons who can operate diabetic retinopathy. There are also not enough doctors to operate in diabetic neuropathy and other related diseases.”
Managing diabetes until recently was all about controlling blood sugar, observed the minister. “But the emphasis has shifted to preventing these serious consequences of diabetes with the help of contemporary scientific evidence,” said Sanjay Shah, head of Westbank Diabetes Centre, situated in the hospital building.
“We are aiming to address these issues in an organised effort, as prevention is cure when it comes to diabetes,” Shah added.
The whole point of setting up the Monday-to-Friday morning clinic is to provide comprehensive consultancy and treatment through a team where everyone from nutritionist to nurse specialises in diabetes. “The hassle-free, one-stop service will save time and money for the patient,” said Satadal Saha, managing director of Westbank Hospital.