All people above 30 will be covered, says Health Minister

A State-wide scheme to test all people over 30 years in rural areas for blood pressure and blood sugar will be launched shortly, Health Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam has announced.

The project, to be implemented as part of the National Rural Health Mission, is expected to cost Rs.5.76 crore. A BP apparatus and glucometer will be supplied to Village Health Nurses and to each sub-centre. It is likely to be operational in a couple of months, Mr. Panneerselvam said. Those who undergo the test and are found to be diabetic or hypertensive will be referred for follow-up and treatment.

The Minister was speaking at the inaugural function of ‘Diabetes 2010,' a four-day exhibition to spread awareness on the condition, organised by Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre (DMDSC). This will be in addition to the Varummun Kappom Scheme in which 1.48 crore people were tested. Of them, over 5.08 lakh persons had tested positive for diabetes and were referred for treatment.

He stressed on awareness as an important part of taking on the problem of diabetes. Lifestyle changes, including altering dietary patterns and taking up exercise, are the key to prevent, and keep the condition under control.

Chennai Mayor M. Subramanian said in about 30,000 people tested at camps by the civic body, 8,000 persons found for the first time that they were diabetic.

In order to promote exercise among the people of Chennai, parks are being built and refurbished and yoga platforms are being established in these parks. He complimented V. Mohan, Chairman, DMDSC, for his work in diabetology and said that Tamil Nadu owed its advances in health care to people like him.

Dr. Mohan said the exhibition which was held first in 1998, was in its 6th edition. With non-communicable diseases having their roots in lifestyles, it was imperative to communicate to the public the possible lifestyle changes that will help them remain healthy.

The exhibition has always been popular with large groups of people testing themselves at the venue.

T.N. Ravisankar, honorary secretary, Indian Medical Association, cautioned the public against falling for fake claims of cure by various advertisers.

An exercise DVD specially crafted for diabetics by R.M. Anjana, Director, DMDSC, was released on the occasion. Ranjit Unnikrishnan, Director, DMDSC, provided a snapshot of the workings of the institution.