VELLORE: The Department of Endocrinology attached to the Christian Medical College Hospital (CMCH) has taken the initiative to form support groups for patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes and their relatives to manage the disease in a less painful and a more cheerful manner. The concept, originally conceived in 2011 was brought to fruition with a meeting being convened on Saturday with around 100 patients including family members taking part.
A dedicated team comprising doctors, diabetes experts, support staff, has been formed to aid the support group. Dr Asha, associate professor of the department, said that this is a patient-empowerment programme addressing the medical and social needs of the patient.
Dr Asha said that 3 to 18 persons in a population of one lakh in the age group 0-14 are found to be suffering from Type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes in children is increasing by three per cent every year, which is alarming and managing such children is a daunting task, she said. “This is where support groups help in lending emotional and social support to each other,” she added. The continued support and education by the department has helped many group members reduce blood sugar significantly, she said. “(Managing) diabetes is a long-term journey. As a team they will be more empowered to achieve the goal of managing the disorder,” Asha added.
Dr Mahesh said that famous personalities and celebrities such as cricketer Wasim Akram, actor Kamal Hassan, TV anchor Gaurav Kapoor, Olympic swimming champion Gary Hill, athlete Sebastian Sasseville (the first ever diabetes patient to scale Mount Everest) are Type 1 diabetes patients and were able to overcome hurdles and lead a normal and successful life.
A calendar with pictures of the support group members with a message ‘You are not alone’ was released by Dr Pramila Lee, nursing superintendent of the hospital.