The Medical Trust Hospital and Diabetic Care Centre, Kulanada, supported by the World Diabetes Foundation and the district panchayats of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, has carried out an intervention programme to limit the incidence of diabetes in the two districts from August 2008 to August 2013.

The programme covered three lakh children in 820 schools, two lakh parents and 5,000 teachers.

“Walk to health and say ‘no’ to diabetes” was the catchword coined by G. Vijayakumar, diabetologist, and his team for the campaign.

The programme popularised the message of “Walk to health” or “health walk” among the students and the people at large. It was aimed at prevention through a targeted approach. It targeted schoolchildren, teachers and parents as an effective medium to address the community as a whole, creating proper awareness and a healthy environment in houses, schools and the surroundings, G. Dileepan, project manager, says.

“Walk to Health” forums were initiated in various schools in the two districts.

The hospital team had organised 14-day “Walk to Health” awareness campaigns, covering 196 km, every November in the two districts during the five-year period.

The team had won international laurels by coming first in the Global Diabetes Walk held on November 14, 2011. Announcing the award, Ida Nicholaisen and Pierre Lefebvre, WDF directors, said: “The Pathanamthitta-Alappuzha Diabetes Walk in Kerala had a strong strategy highlighting the number ‘14’ in innovative ways. The walk took place over 14 days, passing through 14 towns in Pathanamthitta and Alappuzzha. Each walk was led by a student representing the next generation and this fit very well into the campaign’s main message of diabetes prevention. As many as 17,400 people walked, and the campaign also lived a parallel life on social media. This campaign was led by a dedicated team which deserves the recognition of receiving the GDW-2011 award.” The campaign ended with a Global Diabetes Walk in Alappuzha on November 14, 2012.

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