Sanofi, IDF and PHFI partner to fight diabetes among children in India

Sanofi, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) have launched a joint public health initiative in India, KiDS (Kids and Diabetes in Schools). For children with Type I diabetes, the project aims to encourage a safe and supportive school environment to manage their diabetes and avoid discrimination. In addition, the programme will raise awareness on diabetes (Type I and Type II) and benefits of healthy nutrition and exercise habits among school children.

In India, diabetes is a major public health challenge and the country is today ranked at no. 2 globally. While Type II diabetes has received considerable attention in interventions, it has not been so for Juvenile or Type I diabetes, even though one out of five children with Type I diabetes in the world would be an Indian (Ref.: International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas. 5th ed. Brussels: IDF; 2011).

The proposed school-based intervention will not just focus on Type I, but also Type II diabetes since the prevalence of obesity is increasing and people are developing Type II diabetes at a younger age. This will ensure overall benefit to school children of all age groups and their families.

Launching the KiDS project at a media conference in Mumbai, Chris Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi stated, “As a global leader in diabetes care, we focus on bringing real benefits to people with diabetes, not just providing a comprehensive portfolio of treatments and innovative patient-friendly devices, but also accompanying them in their daily life. With close support, we can really make a difference in patient outcomes so we are committed to partnering with key stakeholders to create the best patient support programmes possible. In India, through our alliance with IDF and PHFI, the KiDS project will help children with Type I diabetes fight discrimination and manage their disease better. The project will also include health education for the school children to curb the increasing burden of Type II diabetes.”

“In a developing country like India, barriers to diabetes self-management at school are significant.” said Sir Michael Hirst, President of IDF. “By engaging with policy makers and education authorities, organising meetings in local communities and providing educational resources to schools, KiDS will raise awareness of diabetes, and the benefits of healthy nutrition and exercise habits among school-age children. IDF is delighted that, in partnership with Sanofi and PHFI, KiDS will bring about a systemic change for children with diabetes in schools.”

Dr K Srinath Reddy, President, PHFI said, “The programme’s first step was a feasibility study to understand the status of diabetes management by reviewing current policies on diabetes in schools, existing school guidelines and initiatives, any best practices and identify gaps in the knowledge so that appropriate resources and dissemination routes can be developed. We found that there are no structured training programmes, plan or activity, implemented in the school settings that focus on diabetes management. Almost all the respondents emphasised the need for a comprehensive awareness/ educational programme in schools to sensitise students, teachers and parents on management of Type I diabetes, and control of risk factors for Type II diabetes.”

EP News BureauMumbai

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