Diabetes is a silent disease. In a country of 160 million people, 10 million suffer from this polygenic disease. This means one in every 16 people is diabetic. Moreover, another 0.1 million are developing the disease every year. Clearly, the prevalence of the disease has already become alarming and if the trend continues, it may prove nightmarish in the near future. Against this background, the holding of a three-day diabetes fair by a non-profit organisation, Congressia, in the city from April 11 deserves kudos. Claimed to be the first of its kind in this country, the fair is likely to bring together diabetes specialists and experts from various other related fields such as food and nutrition. Patients may avail of the opportunity of getting their blood sugar and eyes tested at lower rates than usual. People from the poor segment of society are expected to benefit from such an offer depending, of course, on the publicity of the fair.
However, the merit of the three-day fair lies in the detailed programmes chalked out. As many as 14 sessions of discussion on 25 topics have been planned, in which 50 doctors and experts are expected to participate. Such elaborate programmes are likely to cover a whole range of issues related to diabetes. Deliberations are expected to cover not only the treatment of the disease and the do's and don'ts for patients but also how to bring down the prevalence of this troublesome disease. It is troublesome because it curtails the liberty a diabetes-free person can enjoy. A patient finds himself or herself under a regulated regime. Non-compliance with the regime may prove fatal for a patient. Here the age-old health adage, 'prevention is better than cure' should be highlighted.
In this context, food habit of people, particularly the young generations living in cities and towns, figures prominently. Young people have literally become addicted to fast foods or otherwise called junk foods by nutritionists. Also the sedentary lifestyle of youths spending hours together before the computer or other electronic gadgets is to blame for obesity the majority of them develop at an early age. These are areas that need to be brought under critical scrutiny. Parents and elderly people of different classes are not adequately aware of the need for physical exercise. They cannot inspire their sons and daughters to take to regular exercise and develop a healthy dietary habit.
Thus a sustainable campaign against diabetes and bad habits including smoking and idle living should be continued round the year. A diabetes fair in the capital city will prove to be a mere ripple unless this is followed up by similar events all across the country. Today, even village people develop diabetes without knowing they have the disease. So such awareness campaign must cover as wide an area - including upazilas - as possible so that villagers can develop a thorough idea of the disease and the preventive measures they should follow. This is how the disease can be fought on all fronts.
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