Kathmandu, March 1, 2019: On February 22 nd and 23 rd Bara Bigha in Janakpur was transformed into diabetes-themed Mela by artists from the Janakpur Women’s Development Centre (JWDC). Type 2 diabetes affects an estimated 96 million people in South East Asia but can be largely prevented or delayed through a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining normal body weight and avoiding tobacco.
”People are not aware of what causes diabetes, what are its complications… they think
diabetes is a fatal disease and worry that they cannot eat any of the things they enjoy… but you can eat everything, just you have to control your portions, and eat a balanced diet.” said Doctor of Janakpur Zonal Hospital.
Many diabetes patients are experiencing great financial hardship, as drugs are not available at local government health services. According to a diabetic woman, “I go for checkups in Janakpur. The treatment is very expensive. For one visit, it costs me around 3000-4000 rupees. Sometimes it gets difficult to manage money, and I have to take a loan.”
Diabetes also carries social stigma people think that, when someone has diabetes, they should not go near them because the disease can be transferred from the one who is harmed from diabetes.
Using traditional Mithila art, drama, music, dance, photo-stories, films, face-painting and games, JWDC artists increased awareness about how to prevent and control diabetes at the Mela. In addition, over 800 people were given free random blood glucose tests, and counseling on diabetes risk factors and a nutritious diet.
Mr. Satish Sah, JWDC Manager said, “To beat diabetes, change needs to come from the community level. Our Mela raised awareness and increased the confidence of the JWDC artists that they can take control of their health to prevent diabetes.”
The Mela and associated events were funded by the Welcome Trust and implemented by the Janakpur Women’s Development Centre in collaboration with the University College London Institute for Global Health, Herd International, Media for Development, and the Nepal Dietician Association.