In what could be a major cause of concern for public health administration in the State, diabetes has established its vice-like grip on the most backward, rural and tribal pockets.
The screening of adult population under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) in five tribal dominated districts of Nuapada, Koraput, Balangir, Nabrangpur and Malkangiri has thrown up some very disturbing figures. More than seven per cent of the people have been found to be diabetic, busting the perception that the tribals and poorer sections of society are untouched by the lifestyle disease that afflicts the affluent.
The south-western district of Nabrangpur has posted the highest incidence rate with almost 10 per cent of the people screened suffering from diabetes.
Nuapada follows with 8.71 per cent while Balangir and Koraput registered a prevalence rate of 7.38 per cent and 7.17 per cent respectively.
The rural areas have a prevalence rate of around four to five per cent while Malkangiri district has 4.34 per cent.
As per the statistics of NPCDCS programme, of the total target population of 27,84,779 in these five districts, about 35.80 per cent at 9,96,850 were screened for non-communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases on March 16, 2013.
As many as 72,073 of them were found to be diabetic, the report revealed. The surge of diabetes is attributed to the impact of development on the lives of the people in the hitherto safe territories and population.
The backward and tribal population deprived of minimum sustenance level for ages has suddenly found increasing food security and exposure to development-induced lifestyle changes.
Abrupt changes in lifestyle and diet can fuel metabolic disorders like diabetes. When a very poor man, who has been struggling to manage a square meal a day, suddenly finds two or more good meals, chances of his getting diabetes increases.
In a way, even as the poverty alleviation schemes, ` two a kg rice and other developmental programmes that are positively changing lives of the underprivileged sections, the flip side is also becoming blatantly evident.
“The situation is alarming. In 1990, diabetes incidence was estimated to be 0.8 per cent in the rural areas while in 2012, it has increased to between four and five per cent, Central Committee member of NPCDCS and Chairman of Kanungo Institute of Diabetes Specialities Dr Alok Kanungo has warned.
The rise is indicative of a strong metabolic shift and if no action is taken, the situation will soon be out of control,”