Indigenous glucometer, strip will be available in 6 months
Bringing relief to millions of diabetics who spend a substantial amount of their earnings on testing their blood glucose level, the Health Ministry on Monday launched indigenous, affordable testing kits.
The launching of two kinds of glucometers and testing strips will make mass screening and detection feasible. The glucometers will now cost between Rs. 500 and 1,000 as against the price of Rs. 1,000-2,500 for the imported instrument. Each glucostrip will cost between Rs. 2 and Rs. 4, down from Rs. 18-35.
The diabetes screening system and test strips have been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai (called Suchek) and the Birla Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (known as QuickcheQ) with funding from the Indian Council of Medical Research. These will be manufactured by Biosense Technologies and will be available in the open market in the next six months.
According to the International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas 6, published in November 2013, India has an estimated 65 million people with diabetes with a prevalence rate of 6 per cent. Additionally, there are 77 million with pre-diabetes in whom, if altered glucose levels are detected early, the onset of actual diabetes can be postponed for several years with dietary and lifestyle changes.
Speaking on the occasion, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said India had already launched a screening programme for diabetes and pre-diabetes in 100 districts which indicated prevalence in the same range. “It is estimated that the people with diabetes will cross 100 million in the next 10-15 years unless major steps involving government and people together are taken. In India, it is no longer a disease of the rich but has started affecting the middle class, the lower class, and even youth and children.”