On World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated every year globally on November 14th, United Way Mumbai organized various activities to raise awareness on Diabetes in Kumbharwada, Dharavi area, one of the largest slums in the world. Being mostly migrant workers from the unorganized sector, inhabitants of this area have little access to information on Diabetes and its prevention.
College Students Health Educators
50 youngsters from two city colleges were trained by United Way Mumbai as health educators to raise awareness on Diabetes and healthy eating as a key factor to fight it. Through door to door interactions, poster exhibitions, rallies and street play performances, they managed to reach out to 500 houses.
Blue Human Circle
Dressed entirely in blue, youth volunteers also reached out to a wider number of community members by forming a blue human circle, a way to attract the attention of neighboring residents and commuters. The blue circle is a universal symbol for diabetes representing the global diabetes community and highlighting unity and combined strength. An metaphor that also applied to United Way Mumbai’s approach of bringing together the different stakeholders (public health infrastructure, community members, college youth, etc.) to collectively ensure the widest outreach on diabetes.
This human circle proved to be an effective way to trigger the curiosity, prompt enquiries on diabetes and mobilize community members for voluntary testing.
Diabetes Screening Camp
A diabetes screening camp was set up to test, diagnose and give access to medical referral services to adults. Out of 180 people tested in the community, 17 were identified with high glucose level and received education and counselling sessions on healthy eating, symptoms and causes of diabetes, preventive measures, etc. Emphasis was given on special nutritional and lifestyle needs which are economically viable, easy to adapt and essential for effective management of diabetes.
Patient Mid and Long Term Support
But United Way Mumbai’s action doesn’t stop just there. As a part of the campaign, the team will also create a support system for the diabetic person, by :
Reaching out to their families to provide them with information on how they could support the diabetic worker through proper eating habits, nutrition, exercises, etc. thus enabling effective family management of Diabetic family member.
Monitoring and following up with diabetic patients for treatment compliance (in terms of treatment, nutrition, maintaining healthy lifestyle, etc.) thanks to Diabetes Status cards which were issued to all 17 that tested positive to high glucose level.
About United Way Mumbai
United Way Mumbai is one of the seven chapters of United Way India. With a focus on community health issues, United Way Mumbai works on prevention and curative programs for severe diseases / infections that affect a large number of persons. This includes monsoon ailments such as Malaria, Dengue, Diarrhea, Leptospirosis, Gastroenteritis, Jaundice, Typhoid, as well as other severe diseases such as Diabetes, Hepatitis B & C infections. While these diseases are highly prevalent among the city population, there is lack of awareness among the people about them.
United Way Mumbai’s program on Diabetes “Lifestyle Interventions for prevention and awareness generation in Diabetes” has had a significant outreach. In 2014, 5,000 unorganised sector workers underwent diabetes testing and screening and attended an education session.
To learn more on United Way Mumbai, please visit www.unitedwaymumbai.org