WHO asks India to wake up to ‘diabetic tsunami’

November 29th, 2008 - 12:59 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 28 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) Friday said India has a long way to go towards controlling the incidence of diabetes in the country, which has assumed dimensions of a ‘tsunami’. Noting India has close to 41 million diabetic patients and the number is growing at a steady pace, said Samlee Plianbangchang, director of WHO Southeast Asia, adding the country needs to wake up to the challenge of the disease which does not differentiate between the poor and the rich.

“The country needs to wake and fight the diabetic tsunami,” he told IANS on the sidelines of an international conference on diabetes that began here.

Delegates from south and southeast Asian countries are in Chennai to participate in a conference to deliberate and devise a way to tackle diabetes that has over 56 million victims in the region.

Describing diabetes as a “tsunami”, Pierre Lefebvre, chairman of the World Diabetes Foundation, which organised the conference, said: “No disease has so much of an economic impact as that of diabetes”.

He said India spends only three US dollars per patient to create awareness about the disease but spends not less than $650 per person per year as medical expenditure.

Inaugurating the conference at the Taj Coromandel hotel here, Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Nimal Sripala De-Silva said: “Between 30 percent to 80 percent of diabetics in the Southeast Asia region do not know that they have the disease.”

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