In a major initiative to check diabetes and hypertension, the Centre on Tuesday launched a scheme under which the entire slum population and urban poor in Delhi will be screened for the diseases over the next two months.
The initiative is part of Union Health Ministry’s ambitious programme to screen people for diabetes and hypertension in 100 select districts and 33 cities with more than 10 lakh population.
Launching the scheme along with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said government will maintain a database of the people affected with the diseases and remedial measures would be provided to them through direct communication as well by sending SMS.“We have launched the scheme to contain the disease. Diabetes proves to be a hurdle in treatment of other diseases and we must take effective steps to contain it,” Azad said.
He said keeping in mind the need for early detection of Non Communicable Diseases for effective treatment, the ambitious programme for screening of diabetes and hypertension has been initiated by the government.
The cost of the programme in 100 districts and 33 cities would be Rs 1,230 crore.
Asking the Delhi Government to implement the scheme effectively, he also appealed to all the Delhi MPs, MLAs and MCD councillors to extend their cooperation in making the programme a success.
He said the screening of the people in Delhi would be completed by 30th August.
The Minister said as the current programme does not include children, a separate pilot project would be launched in six select states in the country under which only children will be screened for the disease.
Azad said after one year, the Ministry will get a “complete picture” of prevalence of diabetes among various sections of society and accordingly policies will be framed to deal with the disease.
“After conducting the screenings on urban poor, children and general adult, we will have a complete picture about the prevalence of the disease and it will help us in effective control of it,” he said, adding that government has plans to screen the entire population to detect diabetes.
Later, asked about New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) report that some energy drinks contained “dangerously high-levels” of caffeine, Azad evaded a direct reply but said usually action follows only after carrying proper research on such reports which come to the Ministry.
“Usually action only follows after thorough research,” he said.
The study by CSE’s pollution monitoring lab found that 44 per cent of the samples tested ‘breached’ the safe limit of 145 parts per million (ppm) of caffeine prescribed by the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
Dikshit, in her speech, identified diabetes as a major non-communicable disease and said the city government will leave no stone unturned in ensuring proper screening of the slum population as well as urban poor under the scheme.
Delhi Health Minister A K Walia said diabetes test centres have been put up across the city to conduct the screening of the target group.
Asked about Centre’s affidavit in the Delhi High Court that it was against sale of junk food and carbonated drinks in and around educational institutions, Dikshit said her government has already prohibited sale of junk food in and around schools and any policy in this regard by Health Ministry would be followed.