The district health department observed the diabetes week from November 14 to November 20 in a half-hearted manner to fulfil the minimal formality of holding official programmes. The week was observed following the World Diabetes Day on November 14. In sheer ignorance of orders issued by the government to celebrate World Diabetes Day and spread awareness by holding a ‘walkathon’ in the city, the health department made a mockery of the week.
In a letter addressed to all civil surgeons on November 13, a copy of which is available with HT, the state programme officer of National Programme For Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) had directed them to celebrate the World Diabetes Day from November 14 to November 20, an exclusive week dedicated for organising awareness activities in their respective districts.
The programme officer wrote that all civil surgeon should ensure the circulation of write-ups in all the community and primary health centres and the same were to be addressed during seminars. Further, health education camps and medical camps were planned for spreading awareness.
The programme officer directed that a walkathon should be organised by all the district hospitals and community health centres. It was to be organised from 9am to 10am, with the involvement of NGOs and other community leaders along with school-going students.
The districts of Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Mansa, Pathankot, Nawanshahr, and Kapurthala are covered under the NPCDCS and the medical authorities were directed to organise special medical camps at district and CHC-level in which free diabetic screening of patients was to be undertaken throughout the week.
The authorities were directed to display health education material at all the prominent places, such as civil hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals and CHCs. They were also asked to send a report after celebrating the dedicated week.
Recommendations and directions put aside, in reality, no health education material was displayed in the district civil hospital or other health centres to inform the general public about diabetes. The department did not hold any ‘walkathon’ during the week or organised any health education camp for the common people.
The district health department held a seminar only for its doctors, nursing staff, accredited social health activists (ASHA), who are already well-aware about the disease that is spreading its tentacles on a war footing in the state.
As per available data in NPCDCS districts, the health department has found 26% people suffering from diabetes, 34% from hypertension, 2% from cardiovascular diseases and 1% from cancer during 2014-15.
Civil surgeon Kelash Kapoor said they had organised the walkathon in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on November 15 and he flagged it off himself.
IMA district president Rajiv Sood said IMA had organised a sports meet from November 2 to November 8 but didn’t hold any function on November 15.
State programme officer of NPCDCS, Dr GB Singh, said he would look into the matter as to why the department failed to create awareness about the disease among the general public and the reasons behind not organising walkathon.