When Karunika Kardak’s father was diagnosed with diabetes last year, the 20-year-old literature student wanted to help her dad cope with the chronic disease. Soon, she found herself on Facebook interacting with people on ‘Living with Diabetes in India.’
The page, started in February last year specifically to address issues faced by people living with diabetes, crossed the 2,00,000 ‘likes’ mark in April and is estimated to be one of the biggest communities on Facebook dealing with a chronic disease.
“Although he was taking medicines, I wanted to know more and help in some way. It was inspiring to read about other diabetic patients who were successful in controlling the disease with diet and exercises,” said Kardak, who now regularly convinces her father to exercise.
Started by Praful Akali, director of a medical communications company that generates online material for medical professionals, pharmacists and clients, the idea of launching the ‘Living with Diabetes in India’ page because India is known as the diabetes capital of the world.
“The page works because people do not get enough time to discuss their anxieties with their doctors. This platform allows them to exchange information and experiences with other patients and medical professionals that act as a support group,” said Akali, who has a team of doctors who he reaches out to for clarifications and guidelines for the disease.
The page has attracted more ‘likes’ than the American Diabetics Association, which is one of the most popular Facebook communities.
Living with Diabetes has attracted patients and their relatives and comprises information on diet, exercise, clarification on misconceptions and information on workshops.
While more than 80% traffic comes from Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Akali said they were getting more participation from smaller towns as well.