Emerging Diabetes Pandemic in India: A Case Study for an Integrative Approach
Every day, India sees the addition of 5,000 new cases of diabetes to its current diabetic population of 65 million people. This number is projected to cross the 100 million mark in 15 years. The emerging pandemic scale of diabetes growth is straining India's already-overburdened public healthcare resources. India is home to several well-established native and adapted foreign traditions of medicine that are widely practiced. These traditions include Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha, and homeopathy. The modern and traditional medicine approaches are extensively used as independent systems. The purpose of this qualitative research case study was to evaluate the use of an integrative approach to address the multiple challenges posed by diabetes in India. The research design for the case study was based on the theoretical framework of participatory action research. The research questions evaluated how the modern and traditional medicine systems can be jointly used to contain the spread, scale, and immensity of diabetes in India and examined the barriers and challenges in combining various systems of medicine. Data were collected from interviews with 30 modern and traditional medical practitioners and 6 policy makers identified through a stratified purposeful sampling process. The transcribed data were coded thematically and objectively analyzed. The trustworthiness of interpretations was bolstered with triangulation through records from notes and observations. In evaluating the feasibility of a synergistic and integrative approach, the study filled a gap in scholarly literature. The study contributes to social change by adding to the existing body of knowledge available to physicians and patients in preventing and containing the diabetes pandemic.