Thursday, December 4, 2008

Punjabi diabetes information: case

Recent events in Mumbai, India, have left me feeling saddened by the tragedy and homesick for the place. I am Italian, but I spent many years of my childhood in India. We stayed many times at the Taj Mahal hotel, and at the Oberoi, brief moments of luxury before we made our way to where we were really going to stay, often in places where we ran around barefoot, got water in clay pots from a nearby well, milk and yogurt from the cow farm next door, and read our bedtime stories by the light of candles. Today I post a case from India.


A family comes into my room (father, mother and two young boys) and tell me they have just visited their doctor who recommended that they come see me. The father has diabetes and is having trouble understanding everything the doctor says because his first language isn't English. I can tell from their accent that they are probably from India or Pakistan. When I ask what language they feel more comfortable with they tell me it is Punjabi. They tell me they are from Chandigarh, which is the capital of the part of Punjab that remained part of India.

The Open Hand Monument in Chandigarh

They are pleased and surprised when I tell them I visited Chandigarh even though I unfortunately don't remember it because I was too young.

We chat a bit more and then I let them know that I may be able to find some information for them in Punjabi which pleases them very much.


I have a feeling that resources from the UK will be most likely to have information in Punjabi.* Sure enough Diabetes UK has information on several topics related to diabetes: What is diabetes?; Managing diabetes; Healthy lifestyle; Diabetic complications; Your eyes and diabetes etc.

The UK Department of Health also has some information in Punjabi** about diabetes: Living with diabetes: your future and wellbeing.

I prefer to offer at least some Canadian content, and because the family is computer literate, I also give them a link to a video from Fraser Health, BC: Living well with diabetes, and a booklet: On the road to diabetes health. I tell them that if any of the information from the Canadian resources is different from the UK information, they should follow the Canadian recommendations, and if they are not sure they should ask their doctor to clarify.

We say goodbye and are both a little more cheerful for having met.

* They also have information in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Hindi, Somali/Soomaali, Urdu and Welsh Cymraeg.

** They also have this leaflet in Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati and Urdu

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