The Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) plans to offer a special diabetes study programme to equip doctors, who have the minimum MBBS qualification, to better recognize and treat the disease.
The one-year programme will be structured into three-month modules and MUHS will take the help of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI) to launch it.
"The rate at which cases of diabetes is growing in the country is a cause for serious concern. It is also related to other ailments and therefore very important that it is treated in time," said Dr Arun Jamkar, vice-chancellor, MUHS.
He said that the modules would be designed by Dr Shashank Joshi, president, Association of Physicians of India.
RSSDI is the largest organisation of diabetes health care professionals and researchers in Asia dedicated to facilitate research and train medical practitioners in diabetes and spread awareness and education.
According to medical authorities, India and China account for almost half the global incidence of diabetes, and going by the trend in the past couple of decades, India could soon be the country with the largest diabetic population, given the low awareness, among other things.
A larger number of people are afflicted by type 2 diabetes than type 1. While this was previously known to develop in adults over 45, it has been detected to be increasing among younger people due to obesity.
Today, an estimated 62 million people in India are said to be diabetics. More than half of them are aged between 35 and 55 and this has an economic cost.
What is more disconcerting is that these cases do not reflect the traditional risk factors in terms of hereditary patterns arising from high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Unlike in type 1 diabetes where the body's capacity to produce insulin is affected, those with type 2 diabetes are able to produce but it is insufficient for the body's needs and/or the body cells are resistant to the action of insulin.
"We are happy that there will be such a programme. This is the need of the hour and there will be many who will undertake the course," said Dr Anil Pachnekar, ex-preisdent of the Indian Medical Association.
"In everyday practice, doctors come across people with diabetes and this will help them treat such patients properly."