Health is the real jewel and the most precious possession of man. An increasing concern in the world is the declining health of the people due to a poor diet. Diabetes is among such lifelong diseases as have no cure.
Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in human blood is very high because the body cannot use it properly. This is because your pancreas does not produce insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter your body’s cells. It is the cause of 88,000 deaths per day of which 35,615 are men and 52,397 are women.
Pakistan is a poor country having very little quota for health budget. The alarming figure is that Pakistan is the 7th largest country in terms of Diabetes population and it will be 4th largest by the year 2030. According to World Health Organization (WHO), in the year 2011, 12.9 million Pakistani people were suffering from diabetes of which 9.4 million were diagnosed and the remaining 3.5 million people were undiagnosed.
Different non-profit organizations are working to serve humanity by spreading the awareness about diabetics. The very first one to educate the Pakistanis about the disease is the Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP).
The Diabetic Association of Pakistan (DAP) was established in 1966 with 41 employees and 21 volunteers and the mission is to provide specialized medical care and education to the people suffering. The outpatient clinic of DAP was affiliated with International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 1967. It is one of the oldest members of the IDF and 13th in order of affiliation. Illahi Bukhsh Soomro is patron of DAP and he was the 16th Speaker of National Assembly of Pakistan. He is from a political family of Sindh. Starting from an eye clinic for diabetic patients in 1982, the DAP developed its network for human welfare. In 1987, a diabetic food clinic was established and ‘Diabetic Digest’ was issued in the successive year to spread awareness regarding the disease.
DAP was the first one to celebrate World Diabetes Day for the first time in Pakistan in the year 1992. In 1990, DAP hosted the ‘5th World Congress on Diabetes in the Tropics and Developing Countries’ which was attended by 500 delegates from 33 countries. The first ‘Annual Advanced Education Course on Diabetes for Family Physicians’ was also held in the same year.
Currently, DAP is attending around 250 patients daily. It is using Laser Argon therapy for treatment of diabetic retinopathy since 2011. Running educational awareness programs and fortnightly patient education program is part of their association as well. The encouraging part to notice here is that the consultation, insulin injections, medicines and laboratory procedures are all provided free of cost to all Type 1 diabetic children and deserving patients.
The disease itself could be fatal and can cause a heart attack, renal failure or life threatening infections. But still, it is not a death sentence; rather. It is more of a wake-up call to start scheduling your life style. Organizations like DAP need the encouragement and support of our nation to keep on helping patients fight diabetes.
Written by: Muneeb Ali
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