To promote healthy activities and spread awareness regarding the need for a lifestyle change, the University of Karachi will observe a vehicle-free day once a week on the campus from next month.

We have to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent life-risking diseases and hopefully by practically implementing walk culture, we can encourage others to adopt healthy activities, as prevention is always the better option.

This is so alarming that Pakistan has now ranked third in the prevalence of diabetes after China and India. The recent report of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) revealed that around 33 million people are living with diabetes in Pakistan.

In 2019, Pakistan was among the top 10 countries of the world for an absolute increase in diabetes prevalence and now we are ranked as the third country with the highest prevalence of diabetes because we did not take the matter seriously.

These views were expressed by the KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi while addressing the awareness seminar on diabetes mellitus, which was held at the KU Medical Centre, on Tuesday.

He shared that in 2019, over 19 million adults in Pakistan were living with diabetes and according to the IDF recent report, more than 13 million people have become diabetics in the country.

The KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi mentioned that although, the health experts are blaming the Covid-19 pandemic, for the increase in diabetes cases in Pakistan, as physical activities were halted due to lockdowns and lack of opportunities during the last two years. But, he believes that a major factor is the ignorance of government authorities and the behavior of common citizens which causes an alarming rise in diabetes in Pakistan.

“This is a fact that governmental authorities did not come up with plans to reduce the growing cases of diabetes and the general public also did not show any interest in adopting a healthy lifestyle to minimize the diabetes ratio in the country.”

He urged that the concerned authorities should include diabetes preventive measures in the national health policy to minimize the burden of the disease.

Meanwhile, the President National Association of Diabetes Educators of Pakistan Dr Muhammad Saiful Haque informed the audience that Pakistan has the highest prevalence rate of diabetes around the world.

“Unfortunately, Pakistan is at the top of the list of countries where gestational diabetes later turns into type 2. There are a large number of people who have diabetes but they don’t know about it yet.”

He mentioned that the most disturbing situation is that diabetes is spreading rapidly among children between the ages of 12 and 20, which is a very worrying moment. Blindness, kidney failure, amputation of legs, heart attack, and several diseases are caused due to diabetes.

Another speaker, the Chief Executive Officer Digital Health Dr Zakiuddin Ahmed said that every 10th adult is living with diabetes in the world. He shared that 240 million people are living with undiagnosed diabetes, of which 27 million are in the Middle East and North Africa. According to him, diabetes-related deaths in the Middle East and North Africa account for 12 percent of all global deaths.

On this occasion, the Deputy Director Health Services Karachi Dr Muhammad Irfan Farooqui said that as figures of diabetes mellitus are increasing day by day, the Sindh government has decided to establish a diabetic clinic in every health care unit. He said that these desks will be set up to facilitate awareness and medical treatment to the general public as the provincial government is taking measures to make Sindh an ‘amputation free province.

Dr Akmal Waheed of KU Medical Centre said that a healthy lifestyle should be promoted at all levels to prevent diabetes. He observed that health experts have seen a lot of complications among diabetic persons but unfortunately masses are not taking the matter seriously.

“Universities are vibrant parts of societies and I am sure that our students will come forward and help us in spreading awareness regarding diabetes and other diseases and also advocate the adoption of a healthy lifestyle to prevent the spread of disease in society.”

Earlier, the KU Medical Centre also arranged a ‘walk a cause for diabetes’ from the new Administration Building to the medical centre in connection with World Diabetes Day

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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