More than 15,000 people gathered to see the bodybuilders, Zumba dancers and military cadets and receive a free blood glucose screening. Many joined group yoga exercises, helped create a human blue circle in honour of World Diabetes Day, and participated in a Global Diabetes Walk.
After a busy and thought-provoking day, participants left pledging to improve their health. Younger participants spoke of taking their new yoga skills home to teach their elders.
And this was just in Green Park Stadium in Kanpur. Throughout November, an additional 600,000+ people gathered for more than 2,000 Global Diabetes Walks and related activities across Uttar Pradesh (final numbers will be published here when available). News coverage of these events reached more than 30 million people in 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
This huge campaign, the largest in the Global Diabetes Walk’s history, was led by Jain Hospitals. It built on several years of increasingly ambitious events, with participation growing from 1,500 participants in 2012 to nearly a half million in 2018.
Dr Jain (left) during a candle-lighting ceremony with key partners in Green Park.
The experience in Uttar Pradesh can help other Walk organisers worldwide, says Dr Rajesh Jain, Chairman, Jain Hospital. Useful lessons from this year’s event include:
1) Leverage existing materials and themes
The 2019 Jain campaign ‘Healthy Family, Fit India’ was closely aligned with the 2019 IDF World Diabetes Day theme ‘Diabetes and Family’. The Jain campaign made good use of campaign materials from IDF and WDF, downloading, translating and adapting them to fit the residents of Uttar Pradesh and their needs.
2) Set and publicise a fixed time and place for the Walks
The campaign included 2076 separate events, including 454 screening camps and 342 Diabetes workshops in schools, colleges and diabetes associations. Each of these was publicised well in advance, to attract as many participants as possible.
3) Work with government
The state Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a letter to all districts and blocks in Uttar Pradesh, encouraging participation. Screening camps, marathons, and other sports competitions received official support. The District Magistrate & Commissioner of Kanpur launched the 2019 campaign poster with its theme ‘Healthy family Fit India’ at a ceremony in Kanpur.
4) Invite celebrities to one or two of the bigger walks to attract younger participants
One of the reasons for the strong turnout to the Green Park Stadium event was the presence of Guntaas, a popular singer from Kanpur, as well as trainers from the hit film ‘Super 30’ (Green Park Stadium’s status as home to the Uttar Pradesh cricket team probably didn’t hurt, either.)
“I am delighted to be part of this wonderful Journey,” Dr Jain says. “The Green Park Stadium activity at Kanpur was encouraging for me and I hope it will enable me to go forward next year with a record Walk. GDW is an emotion for me now.”