Monday, October 20, 2014

Notes on India

1) India generates 1,27,486 metric tonnes of waste every day
2) 13 of the world’s top 20 dirtiest cities are in India, according to the World Health Organisation’s statistics
3) Only 12 of 497 cities with a 1,00,000-plus population have anything like adequate infrastructure to deal with garbage and human and organic waste
4) Two out of every three rural households have no access to toilets. Less than 12 per cent homes have latrines connected to a piped sewer system.
5) Nearly 20,000 people die every year due to diseases spread by rodents and stray dogs feeding off garbage dumps.

 India is on the cusp of an urban revolution with as many as 337 million Indians already living in cities and the number projected to increase to 600 million in the next decade-and-a-half. Now forget waste management and recycling, imagine finding the land-fills to handle the garbage generated by such cities put together with unregulated construction boom.

In India diabetes is a growing problem. Insulin, discovered in 1922, is still not available to hundreds of millions of people in the developing world, including in India. In India most people with Type 1 diabetes die because they can't afford insulin. In many remote areas in India 80 percent of children with Type 1 diabetes do not reach their 18th birthday.

A 23-year-old woman arrived. She had Type 1 diabetes since the age of 5 and already had numerous diabetes complications, including the inability to straighten her fingers. Under the care of her previous doctor, for almost 20 years, she'd been sent to a lab once a month to have her blood sugar checked. Why did he not tell her to get a home glucose meter where she could check her blood sugar multiple times a day, as is the recommendation for Type 1 diabetes? Because her doctor received a kickback from the lab every month.

 29 year old, Reghunath Varma, a young man, could afford insulin yet died for lack of it. He was told by an acupuncturist to stop taking his insulin -- the medicine that keeps people with Type 1 diabetes alive -- because the acupuncturist's treatment would cure him. Reghunath Varma was a "Young Leader in Diabetes." He was working to raise diabetes awareness and education in his country. Yet cultural forces persuaded him to listen to a quack who said he didn't need his insulin.

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