APPROACH: The ‘Sweetlings’ program is a charity clinic that provides holistic care to underprivileged children and youth with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM). The clinic aims to enable children and youth with T1DM to self-manage their diabetes. The clinic also conducts free comprehensive annual checks, including biochemical, ophthalmological, neurological, musculoskeletal, and psychological assessments for all children.

CONTEXT: The ‘Sweetlings’ program was established by the Hirabai Cowasji Jehangir Medical Research Institute (HCJMRI) in 2010, with outpatient clinics running every Saturday. The clinic staff consists of paediatrics, endocrinologists, paediatricians, diabetes educators, nutritionists, psychologists, and lab technicians. Currently, the clinic supports 450 children and youth with T1DM aged 0 to 22 years, and to date, the clinic has helped 700 children with T1DM. The program also encourages children to face the prospect of managing diabetes positively by organizing fun games to engage in regularly. In addition, the program celebrates various festivals and dedicates the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th to celebrate the courage and resilience of mothers of children with diabetes.

COHORT: The ‘Sweetlings’ program provides holistic care to underprivileged children and youth with T1DM aged 0 to 22 years in the Pune region of the Western Indian State of Maharastra. 

PROCESS: The clinic conducts important research on T1DM, such as longitudinal trends in growth and bone density of children and youth with T1DM, prevalence of insulin resistance and management of insulin resistance using metformin in this cohort. Moving forward, the clinic aims to explore predictive biomarkers in T1DM with its complications and associated conditions and the spatial clustering of diagnosed T1DM and its association with clinical parameters in urban and peri-urban areas of Maharashtra (n=436 children geomapped).