Anna Knauer Elley
A WDF partner shares how a simple district level Walk campaign became a state level activity, mobilising thousands of people in the fight against diabetes.
In 2016, Jain Hospital arranged Walks in 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh involving more than 75,000 participants. How was this accomplished? Dr Rajesh Jain, the facilitator of the campaign, explains.
Dr Jain’s first WDF project was WDF12-678, providing support to gestational diabetes prevention and control in Uttar Pradesh. His second project was WDF15-951, redefining and expanding Uttar Pradesh’s state NCD response, was approved in 2016.
As his work moved to second phase, so did the Walk events: “I previously organised Walks at district level, but when WDF15-951 was approved last year at state level, I decided to do it in all the 75 districts in the state,” he says.
Dr Jain sought out government officials, Ministry of Health and more than 200 NGOs, convincing them to join his efforts in creating a state level Walk campaign. A collaboration with the North Indian Education Trust was key. The trust includes 1300 NGOs, and recruits and trains Certified Youth Diabetes Educators throughout India.
With the new collaboration in place, Dr Jain managed to mobilise thousands of people in his Walk campaign in 2016. To secure a sustainable effect, the event included a broad range of activities – from numerous screening camps to an official letter from the director of National Health Mission to all health functionaries in the Government Sector of the whole state.
“I believe it is important to prioritise these activities, and it’s important to get participants from the health and education sector involved, as they are people who are very responsive to this,” he says.
The key to successful Walk is to start a 100 days before the day of event, giving the organisers enough time to make agreements with collaborators, sponsors and media, he says.
A mass movement
Driven by the desire to increase diabetes awareness in India, Dr Jain says his finds his motivation for organising a Walk in the joy and excitement the participants share.
“I am full of hopes and I am sure we will create an event which is rarely seen,” he says of the 2017 Walk.
Again this year, the collaboration with the North Indian Education Trust will be key, helping Dr Jain to identify and mobilise Walk organisers in Uttar Pradesh and nationwide. The 2017 Jain Hospital Walk campaign will again take place within the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh, but will also expand outside the state, reaching a total of 950 event spots and around 400.000 people nationwide.
A website - http://www.diabetesasia.org/ - is supporting their efforts, and a collaboration with the Amar Uajal media group will ensure that the Walk’s messages “reach the remotest corners,” Dr Jain says. On the day of the Walk, around 2000 media correspondents from Amar Uajal will cover the Walk in more than 900 locations across Uttar Pradesh.
Dr Rajesh Jain’s 3 tips for Walk organisers:
1. Discuss the diabetes prevalence – bring focus to the high prevalence in all your meeting with potential collaborators and sponsors
2. Send a timely invitation letter – make sure to invite key health and education officials in good time and consider following up with one-to-one meetings.
3. Join forces - Seek out sponsors to help finance your event and provide good promotion materials, such as posters, caps & t-shirts.