‘kNOw Diabetes', a diabetes prevention and control programme sponsored by the Denmark-based World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) and implemented by the Medical Trust Hospital at Kulanada, near Pandalam, has been extended to Alappuzha district in the wake of the successful implementation of the pilot project in Pathanamthitta over the past three years.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, G. Dileepkumar, project manager, said a ‘Walk to Health' programme aimed at spreading awareness of diabetes and various other lifestyle diseases would be held in the two districts of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha. Mr. Dileepkumar said the 14-day ‘Walk to Health' awareness campaign, covering 196 kilometres in the two districts, would begin on November 1. Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, will formally launch the programme at a function to be held at his chamber in Thiruvananthapuram on October 31. Health Minister Adoor Prakash will preside.

Mr. Dileepkumar said a 14-member team of student-volunteers would lead the health walk. Schoolchildren as well as hundreds of people from the two districts will take part in the ‘Walk to Health' programme organised as part of World Diabetes Day on November 14.

The ‘kNOw Diabetes' project is being implemented in association with the district panchayats of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, National Rural Health Mission, Health Department, local self-government institutions and various non-governmental organisations in the two districts, he said.

S. Pulikesi, Additional Director General of Police, will flag off the march at Adoor at 9.30 am on November 1. Chittayam Gopakumar, MLA, will inaugurate a public meeting to be held as part of the

function. Babu George, district panchayat president, will preside. G. Vijayakumar, project director, will deliver the keynote address.

The march will pass through Pandalam (November 2); Pathanamthitta (November 3); Konni (November 4); Ranni (November 5); Kozhencherry (November 6); Mallappaly (November 7); Thiruvalla (November 8); Chengannur, (November 9); Mavelikara (November 10); Kayamkulam (November 11); Haripad (November 12); and Ambalappuzha (November 13). The march will culminate with a grand finale in Alappuzha town on World Diabetes Day on November 14. Union Minister of State for Power K.C. Venugopal will inaugurate the valedictory function to be held in Alappuzha town

at 9.3 0 a.m. G. Sudhakaran, T.M. Thomas Isaac, MLAs and Prathibha Hari, Alappuzha district panchayat president, will address the function.

According to Dr. Vijayakumar, the WDF-supported diabetes prevention and control programme aims to target schoolchildren, teachers, and parents as an effective medium to address the community as a whole, creating proper awareness and a healthy environment at houses, schools and the surroundings in an attempt to reduce the risk factors.

He says 30 minutes of walking five days a week would change unhealthy trends and prevent diabetes. Mr. Dileepkumar said the project was expected to have an indirect influence on not less than 10,00,000 people of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha district.

G. Sureshkumar, finance manager, and S. Rajesh, member, also attended the press meet.