January 15, 2001
Question from New Zealand:
I am considering applying for a job in Pune, India. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in six months ago, and now have my blood sugar well under control with a combination of metformin, diet, and exercise. Would I be able to continue accessing the medication? Do you have any other advice for me regarding living in India with diabetes?
I showed your question to a colleague who used to be Professor of Endocrinology in the All India Medical Institute in Chandigargh in north India. His feeling was that nowadays managing type�2 diabetes in Pune, which is near to Bombay, would be very little different from managing it in Auckland or Christchurch. There is a very good endocrinology department in the medical school and you should get in touch with them for medical care. In the interim, it might be wise to arrange continuing e-mail contact with your diabetes group in New Zealand. Another, perhaps important, point is that you are not likely to find any special restrictions in regard to exercise, and, in the nicer parts of town, jogging would not be thought unusual.
Additional comments from Dr. Jim Lane:
Glucophage [metformin] is available in most places around the world. However, local access to the medication would not be known, unless you specifically inquire. You will also have to have a physician who can treat you. You will also have to look into local laws and policies governing the treatment of employees with diabetes and whether there are restrictions for your type of job. None of these things are guaranteed to be universal.
Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:
No reason that you should not be able to care for your diabetes in India that I know about. You should discuss this in some detail with your diabetes doctor and nurse educator since they know lots about you and your health care needs. You should be able to get all your diabetes supplies in India or could merely bring them with you — or have somebody mail them to you from home if they turned out to not be available in India. You should also ask your health care team about what kind of medical followup testing you would need — hemoglobin A1c, lipid, kidney and thyroid tests, for instance. Which ones, how often, could you get them on your trips back home, etc.?