The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad today launched mass Screening Camps for early detection of diabetes and hypertension amongst slum dwellers in Delhi. More than 2000 people from JJ clusters of Delhi thronged the 15 screening desks put up at the Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi for basic diagnostic tests with glucometer strips and also to be made aware about the varied aspects of diabetes and hypertension. The Chief Minister of Delhi Smt. Sheila Dikshit and the Delhi Health Minister Dr. A.K. Walia were also present on the occasion. Addressing the gathering Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad pointed out that the Non-Communicable Diseases are taking a heavy toll and adding to the disease burden. The NCDs are often emerging as silent killers which are accounting for nearly 50% of all deaths in India. He said the WHO figures also point out that 35 crores of patients world over are affected by diabetes of which more than 5 crore patients are present in India only. Recognising the magnitude of these diseases, Shri Azad informed that the UN General Assembly has decided to hold a special session in September, 2011 to discuss means and measures to control the non-communicable diseases. He, however, informed that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India has been aware of the menace and had in fact in July 2010 itself launched a pilot project, costing Rs. 1230 crores, to control cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke in 100 districts of 21 states. Shri Azad further stated that in the 12th Plan he intends to extend this programme to the rest of the districts. Shri Azad said presently all individuals of above 30 years of age and particularly all pregnant women will be screened for diabetes and hypertension for which the glucometers will be provided by the Government of India and the manpower and the infrastructure to organize such screening would be provided by the State Governments. He informed that the State of Delhi has been provided 120 glucometers and six lakh strips in the selected 20-25 slum clusters in the first phase. Shri Azad hoped that the screening would be completed before the upcoming UN Session in September. He called upon the Government of Delhi, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, elected representatives and the Health industry personnel to extend their cooperation to this programme to ensure a healthy nation. Shri Azad said the Government would also arrange for telemedicine service for the affected persons under the next phase wherein the media would also be involved to spread the awareness. The Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit stated that State Government has been organizing special diabetes clinics in all its 31 hospitals on Mondays and Wednesdays. She said that the statistics on diabetes and high blood pressure are alarming and the Government is committed to contain the damage. The Delhi Health Minister Dr. A.K. Walia called upon MCD, NDMC, Delhi Cantonment Board to render their active cooperation in making Delhi a diabetes and hypertension free State. The Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India; Principal Secretary Health, Government of Delhi were also present at today’s event.

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