Kochi: He has children suffering from diabetes uppermost in mind though what also bogs down his mind is the rising diabetes population in the developing world. Juvenile diabetes is his concern because his youngest child, Kate, became its victim and was on the verge of losing her eyesight – but was saved by a brilliant surgeon in the UK.
Now in Kochi to attend the World Congress of DiabetesIndia, Sir Michael Hirst, president of international diabetes federation, affirms that the right to insulin is a human right and no patient in need of it should fail to get it.
“The healthcare system in UK ensures it, and every other nation should take similar steps,” he said, adding that diabetes is not just a health issue but a development issue and governments across the world should give priority to tackling it.
“We are convening a meeting of select MPs from across the world, who are interested in diabetes-related issues in Melbourne in December to convince and influence related policy making by governments. The Millennium Development Goals’ deadline is 2015, and health needs to be placed at the centre of the development framework after that, and diabetes has to have a key place in it,” he said.
Sir Hirst said four out of five new diabetes cases are reported from the developing world. “Diabetes was earlier a disease related to affluence, but not anymore,” he said. He noted India is doing a great deal in diabetes care and added primary health care centres need to lay thrust on caring such people.
To save the next generation from the scourge, education at the school level on diabetes should be strengthened and children prevented from leading unhealthy lifestyles. ‘Life for a Child’ is a programme of IDF to provide insulin for children whose parents can’t afford it. Both preventing development of diabetes and ruling out complications arising from diabetes should be given equal thrust, he said.