‘Silent' diabetes population highlights need for more interventions
Thursday, November 25, 2021 2:21 PM

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P.T. Jyothi Datta

Mumbai, Nov. 25

And to reach out to this “silent” population, doctors and drug-companies are undertaking initiatives, including diabetes management portals, conducting population screenings and doctor-education programmes.

As the country observes Anti-Obesity Day on Friday, on the heels of Diabetes Day last week — statistics present a chilling reality, emphasising the need for greater education and intervention, say medical practitioners.

Sanofi study

Of the 50 million people estimated to have diabetes in India, only 12 million are diagnosed and take treatment, says Mr Susheel Umesh, Senior Director with multinational drug-maker Sanofi-aventis. (NYSE:SNY) With a Rs 200-crore diabetes-related product basket, the company is training general physicians as a first level of screening for diabetes, sugar-related problems and hypertension.

Studies conducted by Sanofi in different States found diabetes prevalence in the metros at about 18 per cent, while it was three per cent in the rural areas, he said. In Delhi, for instance, about 24 per cent of those screened did not know they had hyper-tension.

Goa study

Another project by multinational diabetes-products and insulin-maker Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) found the prevalence of diabetes in screened populations in Goa to be double the national average, at 13 per cent, a spokesperson said. Along with the Goa Government, Novo Nordisk had set up about 125 screening camps in the State and about 15,000 people were randomly screened. Lack of awareness and access to treatment was a problem, she added.

Disease management

Recognising the need to prevent and manage diabetes, hypertension and obesity, a couple of doctors in Mumbai have launched Cheeny Kum to help people monitor sugar levels and get interactive advice from professionalsreal-time.

The 10-month-old disease management portal helps monitor and motivate people with diabetes and improve compliance, says 31-year-old Dr Ankit Khambhati, co-founder, Cheeny Kum, promoted by Exemplar Life Care.

Run like a virtual clinic, registered members get alerts if their sugar-levels peak. Even their doctors (if their numbers are shared) are alerted, explains Dr Khambhati.

This is important because sugar fluctuates and over time, if not managed “these micro-vascular changes manifest as major problems,” he says, and if action is taken in time it could be life-saving, he adds.

Portal

The portal has a six-member call-centre and each trained “diabetes educator” can handle about 200 patients real-time, supported by a dynamic software.

Patients register at an annual payment of Rs 4,000, and the portal has 900 enrolled members, he says. The plan is to expand to about 50 centres, and a subscriber base of 10,000 in about eight months, he adds.

Started with 55-year-old neuro-radiologist, Dr Viral Shah, and an investment of Rs 1.25 crore, the portal also has vendor tie-ups with companies such as Innova Life Sciences, Bayer and Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to have insulin, medicines and blood-glucose monitoring meters delivered at patients' residences, at a fixed price, he said.

By December, the promoters hope to rope in private investors or partners for Rs 10 crore to be spent in expansion over two years, Dr Khambhati said.





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(Source: Quotemedia)
 

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