An innovative programme offers care and education to children to deal with the disorder

Nearly a year after the launch of a concerted intervention programme targeting children with Type 1 diabetes, the non-governmental organisation which promoted the project, is understandably pleased with its work. The programme, Changing Diabetes in Children (CDiC), has so far reached out to over 3,000 children across the country and is hoping to add 1,000 more this year.

The aim of the three-year programme is to offer continuous quality diabetes care, medication and also education to children to manage the disorder. Lack of access to medical facilities result in children remaining undiagnosed or not receiving adequate medical attention, even if they are diagnosed.

CDiC has targeted children in 18 centres — mostly in cities. , including Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The children are given free supplies of insulin and glucose monitoring strips, and their progress is monitored through regular medical check-ups. In each city, CDiC collaborates with a centre specialising in diabetes treatment and care.

What is often lacking, is follow-up care and ensuring that children understand the immensity of the disease, says Melvin D’ Souza managing trustee of Novo Nordisk Education Foundation, which has launched the project. It is partnering with Rosche (which supplies the glucose monitoring strips) to provide medicines and educational material.

Although children learn to self-administer insulin, and monitor their glucose levels, they need to be continuously educated about their condition. The Foundation has developed story books and soft toys, to help them understand insulin injection sites, and a board game to teach them to better manage the disorder.

Vijay Viswanathan, managing director of M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Royapuram, who has under his care 221 children, aged one to 18 years, terms it an innovative programme. While 140 children are from the city, the rest were chosen from across the State. “The best part of the project is any number of strips are available free of cost, and there is screening for complications, which does not happen otherwise,” said Dr. Viswanathan.

“We noticed that HbA1c level in these children has improved dramatically. Children whose families could not afford it would normally take insulin maybe two or three times a week. But now with (adequate) supplies of insulin, the children can take it three times a day and their blood sugar monitoring ability has also improved. At the beginning of the study, less than five per cent had controlled their HbA1c level but within four months, more than 40 per cent of them showed significant improvement,” he added.

Constant motivation by sending the children to dieticians and encouragement to continue with their efforts helped, Dr. Viswanathan said. “What these children need is lot of education material, which has been made available free of cost and that has made a huge difference,” he said.

The Foundation has proposed targeting 10,000 children across the globe under this project.

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012

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