Villagers over 35 to be tested for diabetes

“We have a huge burden of diabetes. But awareness level about the disease is very low in rural areas. We are planning diabetes tests for villagers above 35 or 40 years of age,” Azad said.

“I have already held a series of meetings with my officers about it. We are serious about it and this is one of my own initiatives,” he said at a conference on diabetes in South Asia here.

Azad said testing 25 to 30 crore (250 to 300 million) people, mainly above the age of 35-40 years, through a glucometer will be a tough task. “To test 25 or 30 crore people through this will cost the government around Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,600 crore and this the health ministry cannot afford. I have asked the department of health research to develop cost-effective test sticks.”

“If we fail, then we are ready for a collaboration with private pharma companies to develop it. I will make sure that villagers get the facility,” the minister added.

Azad said the stick, currently used in a glucometer, costs around Rs 30 apiece. “Once we develop that here, it should not be more than Rs 5 or Rs 6,” he said, adding this would be the easiest way to control the disease.

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