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Occidental College

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

India: Public Health, Policy Advocacy, and Community


Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder that affects more people in India than anywhere else in the world (Ramachandran et. al., 2010). A recent national study concluded that Sikkim, a small northeastern state in the Himalayas, has the highest prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus compared to any other state in India. In order to determine why this is so, this study looks at the barriers women face when attempting to prevent and treat Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) in East Sikkim. Fieldwork for this study was facilitated by The Volunteer Health Association of Sikkim, and took place in Gangtok and a small village near Sikkim’s border. Qualitative data for this study was collected through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with state health officials, private practicing doctors, and both rural and urban women living with T2DM. It was found that housewives faced barriers not experienced by men, however no other gender-specific barriers were identified. Lack of knowledge surrounding the prevalence of T2DM, lack of knowledge about the causes of the disease, limited doctor-patient interactions, limited access to health services for rural populations, and the inability to seek treatment as a result of socioeconomic standing were all identified as non gender-specific barriers.


Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Medical Humanities | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Women's Health


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