KERALA

Self-help group for juvenile diabetics

Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: Most parents are devastated when they discover that their child has childhood or juvenile diabetes (Type I). The thought foremost in their minds will be how their children will ever learn to live with this disease.

But what parents should realise and educate their children is that diabetes is not the end of life. Monitoring sugar levels frequently and taking three or four shots of insulin through out the day cannot be easy but it need not be debilitating either. With training and some discipline, a child or youth with diabetes can lead as normal a life and indulge in all sports as any other child without diabetes, said Shuchi Chug, a diabetes educator and a Type I diabetic herself.

“Diabetes is only a small part of your life. What you should not do is make it a part of your personality and become diffident. Get your routine right and go about confidently,” she advised a group of children and youth with Type I diabetes, who had met at the IMA Hall in the city on Saturday to float a self-help group.

The meeting was organised as part of the efforts to form a local chapter of DAWN Youth, a new global initiative in partnership with the International Diabetes Federation and the International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, to explore the attitudes, wishes and needs of young people affected by diabetes.

DAWN Youth promotes a new approach to diabetes which goes beyond the medical aspects and looks at the person instead.

“We thought of floating a self-help group because these children and adolescents need a lot of support and help to realise their unmet needs. As a group, they can help each other to manage their disease and live as confident individuals,” Sreejith N. Kumar, physician, who organised the meeting, said.

He said that one major problem that the children and adolescents with diabetes faced was the total lack of a support system in schools. .”

Dr. Kumar said that with the help of the IMA, a programme was being planned to create more awareness of Type I diabetes in schools. Schools would be requested to select two teachers as health volunteers, who could be trained by the IMA on understanding and managing juvenile diabetes.

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