Raising awareness about diabetes, a costly ailment

With over 75 million diabetic people, India is the second most affected country in the world after China! According to recent surveys, one in six people in the world with diabetes is from India.

What is exactly is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used as energy. Sometimes your body does not make enough insulin or doesn’t use the produced insulin to do its job. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells, further causing high sugar levels. There are a few types of diabetes like Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Prediabetes, and Gestational diabetes. Among all Type 1 and Type 2, diabetes is most common in India.

In 2020, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 463 million people have diabetes in the world and 88 million people in the Southeast Asia region. Of these 88 million people, 77 million belong to India.

India is witnessing a greater number of incidences of Type 1 diabetes mellitus, especially among children during the last two decades mainly in the absence of regular exercises and

unhealthy diets. The estimated number of the commonest form of diabetes in children has increased in India at a rate of three to five per cent per annum over the last two decades.

In such a scenario where the number of cases is increasing, a nonprofit organization, Reas Healthcare and Charitable Trust in Bengaluru has come forward to raise awareness and help people from oppressed communities who have been affected with diabetes.

This trust is a pan-India non-profit organization started in March 2020 by two women from Bengaluru.

How it began

Dr Qadeera Rasti Baghban, a Bengaluru based pediatrician and Veena, a business entrepreneur and a mother of a two-year-old type 1 diabetic daughter.

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Being the mother of a two-year old diabetic patient, it was Veena’s idea to start this trust through which they can help poor people affected with diabetes and raise awareness.  She formulated the idea of starting such a trust through which they can help poor people affected with diabetes and spread awareness regarding it.

Veena (Chairman and Co-founder of trust) met Dr Qadeera at Vikram Hospital in Bengaluru when her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

The objective of Rea’s Health Care Charitable Trust is to reach out to the marginalized, oppressed, and minor communities. This is to provide them with treatment, care, and education on T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) so that they can lead a better life as well as healthier lifestyles.

Speaking to siasat.com about their main aim behind starting Rea’s trust Dr Qadeera (Co-founder and President of the trust) said, “Diabetes is an expensive disease to have. So our main aim is to help those who cannot get insulin and other essentials for diabetes. Our main focus is on people from underprivileged society and marginalized communities.”

Veena, the Co-founder of the trust, also spoke to siasat.com. “Because of financial constraints, people reduce the insulin shots. For instance, if they are required to take those shots four times a day, they instead take it only two times. That too, without knowing the side effects and impact of it. So, we want to stretch our hands to help such poor people who have been affected with diabetes not with the money but with insulin and glucometer among other essentials required.”

Explaining the importance of awareness on the ailment, the young entrepreneur said, “The second most important thing is creating awareness regarding diabetes, especially the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes among children, family, and society.”

The 30-year-old pediatrician also pointed out the importance of educating people on diabetes. “Just controlling blood glucose levels by avoiding sugar-containing food is not enough but a good diet is also important to lead a healthy life. Educating people on the intake of healthy food and at regular intervals of time is also mandatory,” she added.

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Due to the ongoing pandemic, the trusted team is unable to approach patients or one to one conversation. They are helping them through social media and monitoring over the telephone. Currently, the trust is helping the people in the urban areas itself as they are unable to reach out to the rural areas amidst COVID-19.

Rea’s Health Care Charitable Trust team is also trying to create maximum awareness and approach the Central Government to pass an Act for Type 1 diabetes. ‘

“For example, a diabetic patient who is working has to take leave in an emergency ‘unofficially’ only. Suppose a student with diabetes in the exam hall, is allowed to take breaks only on a request which is made ‘unofficially’. Our main aim behind this legislation is to make such things official,” said Veena. 

Speaking about the importance of mental health when a person is dealing with diabetes, Veena said, “It requires a lot of patience to deal with diabetes. Sometimes people face a lot of depression while dealing with diabetes.  So, the main point of our agenda is ‘mental health awareness’ among people”.

Apart from just helping poor by providing essentials, Rea’s trust team is providing parental counseling to those whose kids are affected with diabetes. “We are also organizing counseling separately for both kids and parents to teach them the consequences faced while dealing with diabetes.”

Both, Dr Qadeera and Veena concluded by stating their objectives behind starting the trust, which are, ‘Helping poor with essentials, awareness, and education on diabetes’.

“Our main aim is to help bring change in the lives of Type 1 diabetics,” both added.

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