Govt to screen children for `silent killer` diabetes

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said a programme is on the anvil to screen all children for the disease in the country .

New Delhi: Noting that diabetes is emerging as a "silent killer", Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said a programme is on the anvil to screen all children for the disease in the country .

The government also intends to screen all citizens in the next five years, the Minister said at the launch of the Urban Slum Check up Scheme for diabetes and blood pressure here on the occasion of World Diabetes Day.

"Diabetes is a silent killer and it is important that everyone in the country is screened for the disease. Government intends to do so in next five years. Very soon, we will also launch a scheme for screening diabetes among children," he said.

Azad said diabetes scheme was earlier for those above 30 years. Later it came to light that pregnant women were also critical segment and were included in the programme.

"Now with the growing cases of diabetes among children, there is a need to have a scheme for children," he said.

The Urban Slum Health Check Up Scheme for Diabetes and Blood pressure is taken up in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The Centre will provide the test kit including the glucometers and the states will take care of logistics, he said.

Azad said that the government has identified 100 districts and slum areas of 30 cities with more than 10 lakh population where 20,000 subcentres will do the screening of approximately 17-18 crore population.

The scheme will be implemented in the remaining period of the 11th plan and in the 12th plan the rest of the country will be taken up.

"The purpose of the scheme is not just to create data but people will be informed about treatment and precautions through SMS. The screened people will be given cards which
will have the results of the tests and their details including socio-economic parameters and contact details will be included in the database," he said.

Apart from advice, he said, the scheme intends to provide free insulin doses to poor patients.

Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit said that spread of diabetes is alarming and cases among children are rising very fast in the capital.

Azad also attended a function in Greater Noida where 7,000 children made a human chain for the cause, in what was said to be a world record feat. The earlier record was held by a human chain involving 6,200 children.

Monuments and important building were also drenched in blue lights to celebrate the World Diabetes Day.