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Low-cost care model for diabetics in India

Published : Jul 12, 2016, 2:26 am IST
Updated : Jul 12, 2016, 2:26 am IST

Simple interventions involving care coordinators empowered with IT based techniques can help improve blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes in India.

Simple interventions involving care coordinators empowered with IT based techniques can help improve blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes in India.

The study, ‘Effectiveness of a multicomponent quality improvement strategy to improve achievement of diabetes care goals: a randomized controlled trial,’ published in the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’ journal revealed that “low-cost care model can help patients with diabetes double their likelihood of controlling their disease.”

Led by leading researchers at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and Emory University (Atlanta, USA), a new trial at ten clinical centers in India and Pakistan found that individualised support and enhancing the physician’s likelihood of being responsive can go a long way. Of the 415 million people with diabetes worldwide, 75 per cent live in low/middle-income countries. India alone is home to the second highest number of people with diabetes (nearly 70 million) worldwide. However, the comprehensive diabetes management in a low/middle-income country setting is expected to help a lot of people. “What is needed is prevention to keep people from getting diabetes. Once they acquire diabetes, evidence based simple treatment is needed,” said Dr D Prabhakaran, vice president research and policy, PHFI. Interestingly, the intervention doesn’t require new or expensive drugs, but instead enhances patients’ likelihood of managing their disease on their own by providing individualised support and enhancing the physician’s likelihood of being responsive.

During the three and half years of study, experts yielded sizeable improvements using this low-cost approach.

By controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels better, this study offers hope for reducing onset of diabetes complications like heart disease, eye disease, kidney failure, and amputations which are very common in people with diabetes in South Asia.

The experts are mulling to share the results with the government and feel that right steps should be taken to reverse the trend. “The burden of diabetes is increasing manifold. Currently we have around 69 million people with diabetes which will increase to around 102 million by 2030,” Dr Prabhakaran said, adding that the threat is more alarming than HIV, “It is much more alarming than HIV. The numbers of HIV is coming down and the number of people with diabetes is substantially higher than HIV.”

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi