Sakamma, a female aged 53yrs, is a sweeper from Magadi Road, Bangalore. She was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago. Unaware of implications of the disease, she had been very irregular in taking medicines. She made no food or lifestyle changes either that are critical to controlling diabetes.
When our trained Yuvacharyas, checked her HbA1c (a measure for the intensity of diabetes), it came out to 14 which is remarkably high. She could not sit on the floor and used to avoid walking. She was completely unaware of how yoga or any other exercises could aid towards good health and prevention of diseases.
After she attended our ‘Diabetes awareness and treatment intervention program’, her HbA1c dropped down to 10. She now takes adequate precautions and is far more regular in taking medication. Not only this, she has started regular yoga and walking. She easily sits on the floor. Proudly, she inspires people in her area on getting them screened, and excitedly narrates how exercise, yoga and meditation can aid in achieving a healthy body and stress free mind.
Sakamma is one of the many lives that we touched in the slums of Bangalore. Working closely with Becton Dickinson, we ran a simple intervention consisting of diagnosing people, making them aware of implications of the disease and conducting living well programs to induce life style changes.
We conducted check ups for over 2000 residents from four slums in Bangalore and found that the awareness levels amongst the residents were very poor. Even those who had been diagnosed in the past were irregular with medication and had not made any lifestyle changes. Through our efforts this changed. Many of the diagnosed patients attended our living well workshops and started practicing regular meditation, yoga, and physical exercise regimes.
The larger achievement according to us is creating a proof of concept for an engagement model, which is scalable and can be used across the country. With growth of medical technology and modular equipment simple tests like Diabetes and Blood Pressure can be brought to the doorstep of the beneficiary and preventive health care can be made universal.
We ran interventions consisting of diagnosing people, making them aware of implications of the disease and conducting living well programs to induce life style changes
in Bangalore covered under the project
amongst the control group has dropped from 148 to 134 mm Hg and Diastolic BP from 88 to 79 mm Hg
with normal Haemoglobin (HbA1c) increased from 46% to 58%
The Art of Living partnered with Becton and Dickinson (BD) to carry out door-to-door diagnostic and awareness-focused methodology, alongside using yoga, meditation and breathing techniques to reduce stress and stress-related diseases.
Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP) was conducted in which Yuvacharyas (Youth Leaders) were identified locally so that they could spread awareness about Diabetes and Hypertension. The Yuvacharyas went door to door screening people for these diseases and providing counseling for diabetes friendly lifestyle and food modification.
Follow up clinics were started where patients were re-checked for their GRBS and BP and doctors prescribed drugs accordingly. Free medicines were also distributed.
There is a lack of awareness and understanding about simple diseases among the people. There are no targeted interventions undertaken by the government to spread awareness and provide treatment for these diseases. A majority of residents avoid visiting the government hospital due to inconvenience. They prefer private medical care but visit clinics only when they are in acute need by which time the problem has become acute.
Well thought out preventive health care programs like this can help to improve health and lifestyles.
We believe that interventions like this have tremendous potential and with suitable collaborations these programs can be offered in many more places.