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3 December, 2019 11:21:07 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 December, 2019 12:57:55 PM
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Living with diabetes

Diabetes patients should carry on with their regular work routine. They should take medication, food, and workout on time, which will eventually lead them to live a more healthy, active and happy life
Sheikh Iraj
Living with diabetes

Abdullah Al Mamun, 29, is working as a school teacher in Chattogram. About three years back he was shocked to discover that he has diabetes. To him, the news was nothing short of a nightmare. His guardians and well-wishers immediately suggested that he should see a doctor. The latter assured him that there is nothing to be terrified about and by following a certain diet, taking insulin, prescribed drugs and exercise one can have a normal life. Mamun took the doctor's words to the letter and is now living a healthy life. A big proportion of our population is already battling with diabetes.
Type-1 diabetes is yet an enigma to us. We don't have any concrete evidence which shows what exactly causes diabetes. There are different thoughts and theories within the medical community. Of course, there are some signs or symptoms that can be identified in diabetes patients. Some reasons like genetics, food habits, and environment are basic indicators as to how people likely to be or become diabetes patients. The fact is some of these are still to be 100 per cent proven by medical science and considered hypothetical by some experts on this field. On the other side, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable or can be delayed by changing everyday lifestyle. Keeping one's weight in control, eating healthy, not smoking and regular exercise can help to prevent type 2 diabetes.

According to BIRDEM, one of the leading medical institute which works with diabetes in Bangladesh, there are nearly 10 million registered diabetes patients in our country.

Based on their survey a good part of the masses does not even indulge in the notion that they have diabetes or not.

Certainly, awareness among the people has amplified due to different awareness programmes and advertisements. Nevertheless, there are still many yet to break free from the stigmas and superstitions that surround this disease. For example, some self-proclaimed medical doctors misled people. They illegally preach the idea among people that there is no need to use insulin or other medicines that experts suggest. The alarming thing is a lot of well-educated people of our society are fooled in believing in such imprudent ideas. Our collective common sense is been question when many, especially women of our society refuse to visit the hospitals.

Doctor Mohammed Ibrahim the founder of BIRDEM first thought of diabetic care in Bangladesh. BIRDEM (Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders) is the pioneer and foremost institute who are working with diabetes for more than 70 odd years. Interestingly enough most of Doctor Mohammed Ibrahim's colleagues wanted to run their facilities and activities on a small scale. However, Doctor Mohammed Ibrahim was thinking far ahead of his time and convinced his co-workers to have a wider view of the future and work on a larger scale. Today BIRDEM has 4.3 million registered diabetes patients. During 1990 they understood that the facilities they have are simply too limited. The organisation started looking for opportunities to decentralise its activities. To give their decentralisation a practical form, they started adding affiliated associations and sub affiliated associations. At the moment BADAS (Diabetic Association of Bangladesh) has 61 Affiliated Associations and 13 Sub-affiliated Associations. Every day more than 4000 people visit BIRDEM. For those whose family income is not more than Taka 20000 are considered eligible to take free or discount medical care. There are only 250 free seats available and the queue to these seats never ends. According to their public relations department of BIRDEM, they receive a fund of 22 cores but they have to spend more than 100 cores annually. We hope the concern bodies of the government would work more seriously to unearth a path to resolve this situation.

Now we can not deny the fact that we tend to give more importance to adult diabetes patients, forgetting that there is a huge number of child or juvenile diabetes patients in the country. When confronted with the number of juvenile diabetes one can not help but become astonished and feel a sense of trepidation. A report from this newspaper shows we are presented with unofficial statistics when it comes to the number of juvenile diabetes patients. There is 1 per cent or 10,000 juvenile patients out of all the diabetes patients of Bangladesh. The issue of grave concern is in the last 6 odd years that number has augmented 13 per cent and physicians are finding more and more type 2 diabetics patients among children.

Atiq Aftab, Doctor Dialectologist, SMO, NHN told The Independent: "Diabetes is a hormonal and metabolic disease. The rise and fall of blood glucose are one of the symptoms of diabetes, but it is not the only one. Diabetes damages nearly all the vital organs of the human body. I have not come across any patients who had medical insurance. There is no cure for diabetes but there is a way to keep it in control. Eating on time, exercise, taking insulin and other medicines on time is something diabetes patients should not miss. Culturally we are used to consuming foods which are full of carbohydrate. If we can not stop eating certain foods which are full of carbohydrates and sugar than we should find ways to reduce the portions of those specific foods."

"Many women within the age of 18 to 40 are going through certain tests like blood glucose, urine test, etc. Clerics can not authorise a marriage before checking this record. And we are carrying out this programme. Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was highly appreciated overseas for initiating this programme." A report published in The Independent states, earlier on November 5 last year, the High Court issued a rule asking the government to explain why it should not compel brides and grooms to submit their blood test reports to the authorities before marriage registration. In response to a writ petition, the HC bench comprising Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam came up with the rule.

It is very encouraging to know that some local pharmaceutical companies are manufacturing insulin. This has different benefits for consumers, manufacturers and the government. Consumers are receiving more information about the product they are purchasing. The government can collect tax and ensure better public health interest with more authority.  There have been complaints in the past that some traders marketed low-grade insulin to maximize their profit.

uch an act is a serious criminal offense, which should not go unpunished. Law enforcement and consumer rights authorities should work more together to stop such criminal unlawful activities taking place in the future. The local insulin manufacturers are open to a wide market, as there is already a huge number of diabetes patients in our country. The local insulin manufacturers are creating jobs, which is always welcome. Doctor Bedowra Zabeen earlier told The Independent: "BIRDEM 2 is associated with two projects which work with juvenile diabetes; the two projects are Changing Diabetes In Children (CDIC) and Life for a Child (LFAC). More than 4,000 children and young adults are receiving free insulin through these two projects.

There has been a food revolution for diabetes patients. Many types of research through many years prove that diabetes patients can eat anything like any other person, of course by following certain rules. There is no special diet for diabetes patients. Diabetes patients can eat whatever they want, no matter if its rice, bread, potato, even sugar. We have to remember there is no good or bad food, just good and bad diets. Today the facts are quite unambiguous, any one of us can become a diabetes patient, there is no point feeling sadden by this news. We should confront the issue of diabetes head-on with courage, discipline, and self-care. Diabetes patients should not feel sorry for themselves. People surrounding them should motivate diabetes patients to look upon life more sanguinely. Diabetes patients should carry on with their regular work routine. They should take medication, food, and workout on time, which will eventually lead them to live a more healthy, active and happy life.         

The writer is a journalist working for The Independent

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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