The protocols for management of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), or the presentation of diabetes in pregnant women, have to be disseminated among primary care physicians, Shaukat Sadikot, president-elect of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) said on Friday.

Addressing delegates for the scientific conference of the International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups (IADPSG) hosted by the Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group India (DIPSI), Dr. Sadikot said unless primary tier physicians were educated on which oral hypoglycemic agents or the insulin types to be administered to GDM patients, the medical issues arising from GDM could not be effectively addressed, as almost 99 per cent of the patients in the country were being treated by these doctors.

Dr. Sadikot sought to highlight the magnitude of diabetes, an important challenge in India, by pointing out that the number of diabetics had already gone past the 360 million mark, which was the projection of the previous World Diabetes Atlas for the year 2030. The proportion of diabetics would be in the region of about 580 million according to revised estimates, he said.

He also advocated the need for experts to work together to make a difference to the lives of millions of diabetics.

Earlier, inaugurating the conference, Dr. Mayil Vahanan Natarajan, Vice-Chancellor, The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, said the State government had pioneered the mandatory screening for the GDM in pregnant women as soon as it realised the public health importance of the condition which could potentially affect both the mother and the foetus.

The Government's initiative had become a model for other States to adopt and it is significant that the Government of India proposed to include GDM in the Non Communicable Diseases Programme for the 12th Five Year Plan, he said.

Dr. V. Seshiah, DIPSI Chair, said GDM screening, which had been made mandatory in Tamil Nadu, on the basis of the findings of a cohort study launched by the Dr. V. Seshiah Diabetes Research Institute in 2004, is now also being adopted in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Goa and Chhattisgarh.

The study involving 12,056 pregnant women had determined a GDM prevalence of 13.4 per cent which paralleled the prevalence of Impaired Glucose Tolerance in the general population, he said.

Dr. David McIntyre, IADPSG Chair, Dr. Jeremy Oats, IADPSG secretary general, Dr. B. K. Sahay, Scientific Committee chairman and Dr. V. Balaji, DIPSI Honorary Secretary, participated.

A 23-member international faculty is leading several key sessions at the three-day meet which marks the seventh national conference of DIPSI and the first ever scientific meeting of the IADPSG in these parts.