November 2020: Inculcating awareness around diabetes is the urgent intervention required at every sphere. Lack of awareness in India has made it the second most affected diabetic-hit country of the world touching an estimated 77 million people. And during the COVID-19 pandemic the incidence of diabetes has multiplied markedly. Coincidently, for the first time in 20 years World Diabetes Day & Diwali are falling on the same day — 14 Nov' 2020. Considering the need to inculcate awareness of the increasing rate of diabetes in India, HEAL Foundation has launched Diabetes Blue Fortnight (DBF) from 1 – 14 Nov' 2020, appealing the masses to make it purposeful by taking the pledge of becoming the blue messenger to spread awareness about diabetes.
"On the occasion of World Diabetes Day 2020, I wish every person with diabetes a long and healthy life despite the disorder. I also wish to congratulate the HEAL Foundation for taking up diabetes – one of the serious health issues and running campaigns. India has several challenges with respect to management of diabetes starting with the large numbers of people with diabetes, the younger age at onset, the lack of awareness and the lack of affordability of care. A joint effort by diabetologists, physicians, NGOs and the Government will help to improve the quality of life for people with diabetes. India has the potential to become the diabetes care capital of the world, if we all work together," said, Dr V Mohan, Director & Chief of Diabetes Research, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, ICMR Advanced Centre for Genomics of Diabetes, Chairman & Chief Diabetologist, Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre.
Elaborating on the need of creating awareness, Dr J Kumar, Group Medical Director, Paras Group of Hospitals, said, "The WHO in its effort to draw universal attention from all governments has chosen 'Blue Colour' of Sky to symbolise a global effort to fight diabetes and reverse the global trends that will impede economic development and increase the cause of so much sufferings and premature deaths. We all should take a pledge to do our best in creating awareness to control diabetes through Blue campaign, blue lights to decorate during Diwali in India. Let's celebrate Blue Diwali on the occasion of World Diabetes Day 2020 as both falling on the same day."
"The colour blue has always been the symbol of health and life and abundance of the sky and sea. In the Hindu mythology the most powerful of human incarnations if lord Vishnu, Krishna and lord Ram have been depicted blue. We all know that Diwali is celebrated to symbolise lord Rama's winning good over evil. Diabetes also has a symbol. The blue circle, which has been adapted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) to spread the awareness of this dreaded disease. On this rare occasion that Diwali and World Diabetes Day fall on the same day, let's join hands and spread the message across to light the Diwali blue in colour. I congratulate the HEAL Foundation for this unique initiative," Dr Rahul Agarwal, Senior Consultant General Physician, Diabetologist, Medicover Hospital.
Speaking on the Diabetes Awareness Campaign of HEAL Foundation, Dr Abhijeet Bhograj, Co-Founder & Medical Director, 7 Sugar (Bengaluru), said, "The Blue Diwali campaign initiated by the HEAL Foundation is a unique and powerful in the direction of uniting the nation in spreading awareness about diabetes, it is an initiatives, which makes a difference in reducing the long-term economic burden on the nation. The fight against diabetes is a long battle and this is a step forward on the occasion of World Diabetes Day 2020. Technological innovations are also there in place to deal with the disease. By using AI technology to collect the data would be of great help. We need to cut down on carbohydrate content from our diet. In the year 2020, we need to be encouraged to celebrate 'Blue Diwali' to spread awareness amongst the masses."
On the relationship between intermittent fasting and diabetes management, Manjari Chandra, Clinical Nutritionist & Founder Manjari Wellness, said, "Although, the concept of intermittent fasting has come from foreign countries, yet, it is a cultural part of India because Indian people usually have an interval of 14-15 hours between their dinner and the first meal the next morning, which is intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is beneficial in diabetes if it is done scientifically following the balanced dietary regimen. Fasting and feasting can't go together."
Elaborating on the impact of COVID-19 and the onslaught of diabetes as a part of Diabetes Awareness Campaign, Dr Ashutosh Goyal, Senior Consultant Endocrinologist, Paras Hospital, said, "Of course, COVID-19 has created a lot of problems, broadly impacting the immune system. When your immune system is compromised, you are unable to fight infection. And the persons with diabetes are more prone to get into COVID-19 infection.