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Diabetic? Get free advice over phone

In a first initiative of its kind, US pharmaceutical major MSD has launched a diabetes patient support programme, which will guide and counsel you over the phone free of cost in the battle against the disease. Sumant Banerji examines...

health and fitness Updated: Feb 25, 2009 00:26 IST
Sumant Banerji

If you are a diabetic, you don’t have to worry about reaching out to your doctor to know your progress every time now. In a first initiative of its kind, US pharmaceutical major MSD has launched a diabetes patient support programme — Sparsh. It will guide and counsel you over the phone free of cost in the battle against the disease.

That’s not all, blood samples needed for periodic tests like HbA1C, lipid and renal profile, would also be collected from the door step and the reports submitted at home, again free of cost. The rider, however, is that you are applicable for it only if your physician refers your name for the programme.

The initiative, which was launched last month, has been designed in collaboration with doctors and keeping in mind the lack of patient motivation and infrequent visits to the clinic. India has one of the largest number of diabetics. There are about 4 crore diabetics in the country. The figure is set to double by 2025. On an average, a diabetes patient in India visits his doctor only once in 14 months.

“Not only is diabetes itself a serious disease, it is also the root cause for other diseases like cardiac ailments,” said Ashish Srivastav, business unit director, Metabolics, MSD India.

“Diabetes also leads to hypertension and bad cholesterol and a doctor does not have the time to educate you on diet and exercises.”

The company is tying up with various organisations and laboratories across the country to facilitate the process and has set up a call centre in Hyderabad with 30 trained nutritionists as diabetes counsellors.

These would help in educating the patients on the optimal diet and exercises to go along with the medicines.