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Asian Institute of Public Health (AIPH) Celebrates World Health Day, April 7, 2016.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently made an announcement: Sugar is the New Tobacco; just as Tobacco is one of the leading causes of cancer, Sugar leads to Diabetes. WHO notified that globally an estimated 422 million adults are living with diabetes and in India 8% of the population has diabetes.Diabetes is fast gaining the status of a potential epidemic in India with more than 62 million diabetic individuals currently diagnosed with the disease.

        The World Health Day 2016, 7th April, was celebrated by AIPH faculty and MPH students by organizing an awareness campaign focussing on this year’s theme, Beat Diabetes. The main focus of the campaign was to create awareness in the community on the alarming rise in diabetes and trigger a set of specific, effective and affordable steps to notice the early signs of diabetes and highlight strategies to prevent and manage this disease. AIPH conducted health camps at the urban slums of Bhubaneswar (Unit 3) and at the Bhubaneswar Railway Station where free health check-up Glucose, Hypertension, BMI & other parameters) were measured for the general community for early identification of population at risk. The crowd enthusiastically participated in these activities. A total of204 persons were tested for the parameters at Urban Slums and 321 participants were tested at The Railways Station. Participants with high risk were counselled by nurses and doctors towards prevention and control of diabetes.The support from East Coast Railways (Khurdha Road) and Gram Utthan was outstanding in organizing the health camps.  A rally was undertaken from Master Canteen to Ram Mandir for generating awareness. Street play was organized and performed by the MPH students sending messages on early signs, preventionand management of Diabetes.

 

                                       The campaign concluded with a discussion session led by Dr.Bhabani Das, an eminent physician and clinical researcher and was attended by the students, faculty and invited dignitaries; Dr B K Kindo (Additional Director, Department of Health and Family Welfare), Prof OmkarnathMohanty (Ex Vice Chancellor, BPUT) and Sri Rameshram Mishra (former Addl Chief Secretary, Tamilnadu).Dr B K Kindo remarked that many know about diabetes but despite this awareness do not change their lifestyle. He mentioned that prevention initiatives from childhood have to be undertaken and the Odisha Government is making an effort through school health programs. He noted that diabetes &prediabetic conditions are being screened in 20 districts across the State of Odisha. He informed that various efforts are being undertaken by the Department of Health towards reducing the burden of the disease but emphasized that a joint effort of the community and the Government shall further enhance the preventive and control mechanism. He stated that diabetes is also known to enhance the risks related to cardiovascular problems and stressed that social and spiritual health are important factors in the reduction of lifestyle diseases like hypertension, cardiac problems, diabetes etc. Stress being a causative factor for diabetes has to be addressed through yoga and meditation. Dietary restrictions along with regular physical activity definitely make an impact on reducing the susceptibility to diabetes. 

Prof OmkarnathMohanty valued that there has been an increase in the awareness in the community, at least in the cities more number of people are walking and exercising. However, he acknowledged that a large section of society still maintains a sedentary lifestyle. Prof.Mohanty recognized the challenge of communicating the message and appreciated that AIPH has made a good effort in drawing attention in this regard. He voiced the need to come up with better communication approaches targeting behaviour change and expressed optimism in AIPH students to accomplish this goal.  Dr Das reiterated that it is the individual responsibility to protect oneself from being a victim of non-communicable diseases. Earlier,the incidence of diabetes was primarily at an age of 60 and above, but now there is an early onset of diabetes and young population from the age of 30 is found to be diabetic. This is an alarming situation as diabetes,if not managed appropriately, affects other organs and can significantly reduce the productivity of young people.

Sri RR Mishra gave an historical perspective of the World Health Day. He pointed out thatat the World Health Assembly held in 1948 it was decided that April 7 will be celebrated every year as the World Health Day to mark the birth of World Health Organization (WHO). Since then every year WHO identifies a specific emerging issuefor the World Health Day that has to be worked upon to keep the population healthy across the world. This year WHO has released the global diabetes report which has alarming data indicating that in the last 25 years the incidence of diabetes has grown four folds.

 

The evening ended by listening to the section of “Mann Ki Baat” delivered on March 27, 2016, in which the Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has focussed on the World Health Day and this year’s theme, Beat Diabetes. In this monthly address, he has drawn the attention of the nation on the alarming statistics of diabetes in India and has urged the citizens to take personal responsibility to make lifestyle changes forprevention and control of diabetes.

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