National Launch of World Diabetes Day
at Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi
13 November 2011


On the eve of World Diabetes Day, the biggest campaign so far to increase awareness about diabetes prevention and management commenced at Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi, India, as part of the Abbot Blue Monument Lighting Challenge.

The grand opening ceremony culminated with Dr Kiran Wali, Minister of Women & Child Development & Social Welfare, Govt. of NCT Delhi, illuminating Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir in a blue colour with a press of a button and thus simultaneously bathing over 70 monuments and buildings across New Delhi and around the country in blue light. Among the other landmarks illuminated were the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Old Fort, Kangra Fort (Manali), Ellora caves (Aurangabad), AIIMS, 13 gates of Ahmedabad and the Taj Mahal. Other attendees at this kickoff ceremony included Dr Anoop Mishra, Director & Head, Dept of Endocrinology, Fortis Group of Hospitals, Delhi; Dr C.S. Pandav, Director & Head, Dept of Community Medicine, AIIMS; Dr V.M. Katoch, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research; Dr Gautam Sen Gupta, Director General, Archaeological Survey of India; Mr Vivek Mohan, Managing Director, Abbott India Limited; the Heal Foundation; Ministry of Health, Govt. of India; Via Media; Archaeological Society of India (ASI); a large number of diabetic children and adults, charity groups and NGOs; and other organizations, corporate representatives and distinguished doctors.

The lighting of Swaminarayan Akshardham kicked off India’s participation for the second time in the Blue Monument Lighting Challenge, a call to illuminate iconic landmarks, monuments and buildings all over the world in the official blue colour on the eve of World Diabetes Day, thus supporting the global campaign for diabetes awareness.

“It was great to see the excellent support and cooperation from Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple. I really wish other people also start thinking and acting the same. Only with such support, any public health initiative can reach masses.” - Dr C.S. Pandav, National President Indian Public Health Association & HOD, Center for Community Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi

 “This is the most unique way to spread mass awareness on diabetes and it requires a massive effort. So I compliment the organizers for taking up this initiative. I hope this becomes a rallying point to mobilize future efforts to raise diabetes awareness.” - Prof. Kiran Walia, Hon'ble Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Child Development

“Such activities should reach the masses and the underprivileged sections also so that they know why awareness is important, particularly in the case of diabetes.” - Dr V.M. Katoch, DG- ICMR & Secretary, Medical Research, Govt. of India

There is an urgent worldwide need to raise widespread awareness about the debilitating consequences of diabetes. Statistics reveal that there at present 50 million diabetics in India and that by 2030 there will be about 80 million.