15 Delhi schools to receive training on diabetes management

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New Delhi: Fifteen schools in Delhi will be among the first in India to receive information and training on how to educate teachers, students and parents on diabetes using specially designed 'school diabetes information pack'.

The project titled Kids and Diabetes in School (KIDS) is being conducted by the Public Health Foundation of India in collaboration with AIIMS, International Diabetes Federation (IDF), HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) and pharmaceutical company Sanofi to foster a environment that creates a better understanding of diabetes and supports children with diabetes.

"We had launched a scheme called Chacha Nehru Sehat Yojna in 2011 to focus on awareness in school children about certain diseases and conduct health check ups but it focuses mainly on conventional diseases.

"But, the statistics reveal a steep increase in the number of diabetes patients especially children and adolescents, hence such initiative was the need of the hour," Anindo Majumdar, Principal Secretary education, Govt of Delhi said at the launch of the information pack.

15 schools including seven private and eight govt schools will receive training sessions and information packs on managing diabetes from experts in healthcare, public health and health promotion from State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), PHFI and HRIDAY.

School training sessions will focus on educating teachers and school staff on diabetes, symptoms associated with episodes of high and low blood sugar and how to respond in case of emergency situations.

A 'diabetes in schools' app available in English and Hindi featuring interactive elements of the pack, will be available later in the year.

"We have done a pre-testing for the information packs in two government schools in Delhi and the feedbacks have been good. Hence, we decided to go ahead with 15 schools as a pilot project which will conclude in December and in the second phase a larger number of schools will be taken up," Majumdar added.

The project is being simultaneously conducted in Brazil and 15 schools have been identified there too for the pilot project.

"We want children to feel comfortable managing their diabetes in school, whilst at the same time educating their care-giving network on best way to deal with diabetes," said David Chaney, Senior Education Specialist at IDF.

"We also plan to translate the information packs in eight international languages including Spanish, German, Chinese, Arabic and three others, to adapt the programme for implementation in other countries as well," added David.

The International Diabetes Foundation has estimated that the figure of 65 million people with diabetes in India in 2013 will rise to 109 million by 2035.

"Delhi govt is well aware of the problem of diabetes and it is as common in lower social economic groups as in elites. We plan to implement this project in all Delhi government schools after the completion of first phase," said Adarsh Kumar, Additional Director, School Health Scheme, Directorate of Health Services Delhi Govt.

The project is planned to focus both on Type 1 diabetes management and Type 2 diabetes prevention.

"Creating an enabling environment at school and community level requires cooperation and partnership of all stakeholders. Through the KIDS initiative, we have made an attempt to sensitise teachers, parents, students on diabetes and its related complications, many of which can be prevented through a healthy school environment," said Dr Monika Arora, Director PHFI.

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