Diabetes in BangladeshOn the right side of India, hundreds of glistening, picturesque rivers flow into the country of Bangladesh. At the same time, these majestic waterways nourish miles of leafy greenery that grow exotic fruit. However, although the nation appears to be a serene paradise, the rate of diabetes in Bangladesh grows rapidly and currently affects more than eight million citizens.

Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (BADAS)

Fortunately, the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh or Bangladesh Diabetic Somiti (BADAS) established in 1956 assists mostly lower-income individuals with the prevention, awareness and treatment of diabetes. BADAS helps reduce the prevalence of diabetes in three main ways:

  • Educating the healthcare sector on how to better treat diabetes during the coronavirus pandemic

  • Creating a study that organizes monthly community meetings and sending out weekly text messages on how to prevent and treat diabetes

  • Hosting an annual event for World Diabetes Day that offers free screenings, education and public awareness about the disease.

DMagic

BADAS helped organize a study called DMagic in the Faridpur District in Bangladesh that ran from 2015 to 2018. The study placed villagers in one of the following groups: engaging in community meetings, receiving text messages about how to prevent and treat diabetes, or attending a standard doctor for diabetes prevention and treatment. After the study finalized in 2018, researchers discovered that villagers in the community meetings group lowered their rate of diabetes by 20.7% in comparison to those who went to a regular doctor. However, the text messages proved to not be as effective in reducing diabetes among the participants. Therefore, researchers plan to organize more community meetings about how to prevent and treat diabetes in other rural areas of Bangladesh.

Teaching the Healthcare Sector to Handle Diabetes During COVID-19

BADAS recently implemented a new model to help the healthcare sector to continue to provide quality care for diabetic patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Firstly, BADAS urged the clinics and hospitals to remain open and to continue to offer services to diabetic patients. Secondly, medical professionals needed to wear appropriate gear, sanitize often, screen all patients and look out for individuals with potential COVID-19 symptoms to prevent the transmission of the virus. Next, BADAS encouraged doctors to offer free telephone and video call consultations to their patients. Lastly, healthcare facilities needed to provide sufficient medicine and supplies for diabetic patients.

World Diabetes Day Event

BADAS hosts an annual event in the region of Dhaka on November 14 to acknowledge World Diabetes Day. At the event, medical professionals offered free screenings and educated the public about diabetes. Also, doctors hosted a question and answer session to clarify any concerns and misconceptions about the disease. Next, artists sculpted clay models of healthy and unhealthy foods in an attempt to reduce the rate of diabetes among citizens. Then, the local religious leaders came forward and offered a special prayer for the public and those dealing with diabetes in Bangladesh. Lastly, hundreds of participants walked around Dhaka and carried a banner to spread awareness about diabetes.

Diabetes threatens the lives of millions of Bangladeshi citizens, especially those living in poverty. Although the fight of eradicating diabetes in Bangladesh continues, BADAS teaches many of the most vulnerable in society how to better recognize and prevent the disease.

– Samantha Rodriguez-Silva
Photo: Flickr