It was not the treatment or management of diabetes, but prevention that took centre-stage on Monday at a programme held at M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Royapuram.

The hospital is now aiming at launching a diabetes prevention programme in north Chennai to mark the 90th birth anniversary of its founder, M. Viswanathan.

At the programme, Vijay Viswanathan, chief diabetologist, said the hospital, which had been catering to people in and around the region, would like to conduct awareness programmes about the disease.

“We have so far conducted 500 camps in Chennai and would like to take the programme forward,” he said.

Vice-chancellor of University of Madras, R. Thandavan said he had at his disposal 10,000 National Service Scheme volunteers in the 252 colleges affiliated to the university.

The hospital could approach them to spread awareness about the disease, he said.

Health minister K.C. Veeramani, who presented the ‘Professor M. Viswanathan Selfless Service Award’ to V. Shanta, chairman, Cancer Institute, Adyar, said the institute had done wonderful service which had enthused Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to grant funds for its improvement.

Dr. Shanta, who dedicated the award to the Cancer Institute with which she has been associated for over six decades, said diabetes along with cancer were non-communicable diseases that were on the rise. “The stress is on prevention, which is being propagated by both institutions. Both institutions should work together on prevention as there are common risk factors,” she said. S.N. Narasingan, dean of studies at M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, recalled his association with Dr. Viswanathan, who he said was a pioneer. Dr. Viswanathan had pursued research in genetic propensity for diabetes and methods of prevention long before diabetes was recognised as an epidemic, said Dr. Narasingan.

A 100-year-old patient and three 90-year-old patients were also honoured on the occasion.

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