Recognising the need for a concerted attack on lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will launch 28 clinics in their existing dispensaries in 24 wards of the city on Monday.
In last year's budget, the BMC allotted Rs 2 crore to tackle lifestyle diseases. "The number of diabetics is increasing steadily. We get people from varied backgrounds, mostly with a family history. While some have bad lifestyles, others such as the migrant population are lean diabetics. It is a very heterogeneous disease," said Dr Nivedita Moulick, head of medicine, Sion hospital.
The BMC realised the gravity of the problem after they got feedback from their health officers from 75 camps held for monsoon related ailments this year. "The camps were held to spot monsoon-related diseases such as malaria, but many patients approached the camps with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes," said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.
The BMC plans to replicate the malaria-control model to tackle diabetes. "Instead of waiting for patients to come to the clinics, the doctors will step out in the community to look for symptoms ," Mhaiskar said.
The disease has also made inroads into the rural and tribal population of the country. Attempting to study this trend, the preventive and social medicine of Sion hospital studied the problem and found associations with childhood malnutrition.
As much as 4.4 % of the population of Kherdi, near Vaitarna that the department surveyed, suffered from diabetes. Of these, 36% had a history of childhood malnutrition. In an urban populace, about 8-10% of people are diabetics.
The department, under Dr Ramesh Chaturvedi, proposed that malnutrition results in lower foetal growth and even lower growth of the pancreas that leads to diabetes in the future.