Arogya World Reaches One Million in India, Fulfills mDiabetes CGI Commitment

Posted on: September 23rd, 2013 by Thea


For immediate release                                                            

Media Contact: Thea Joselow

 Arogya World Reaches One Million in India,

Fulfills mDiabetes Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action

Nationwide Diabetes Prevention mHealth Program Shows Encouraging Effectiveness Results

New York, 24 September 2013: Arogya World today announced that it has completed mDiabetes, a Commitment to Action made at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. With this groundbreaking effort, Arogya World has reached more than one million people from all over India with text messages about diabetes and its prevention in 12 languages, and has tested the program’s effectiveness in bringing about behavior change known to prevent diabetes. mDiabetes, the largest nationwide diabetes prevention mHealth program in the world, was designed and implemented by Arogya World in partnership with Nokia Life.  Other partners include Emory University, Johnson & Johnson, Aetna, Biocon and Ipsos.

First effectiveness results from mDiabetes are encouraging.  Consumers’ awareness of diabetes, especially its complications, increased, but more importantly, promising trends in behavior change were noted:  an 11% increase in daily exercise, a 15% increase in the intake of 2-3 servings of fruits a day, and an 8% increase in 2-3 servings of vegetables a day.  The self-reported data are statistically significant.

“We have great faith in our scientific approach and are analyzing the consumer data from this population-level mHealth program rigorously. We believe that mobile technology, because of its cost-effectiveness and scalability, can be a core part of a model for chronic disease prevention in the developing world,” said Nalini Saligram, Ph.D., Founder & CEO of Arogya World.  “We thank our partners for supporting us in our quest to make meaningful public health impact.”

In 2012, Nokia Life helped Arogya World recruit 1,052,633 persons who opted-in to receive mDiabetes text messages. The participants came from all over India and a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Arogya World developed the 56 text messages with Emory University in late 2011, based on science and behavior change theory, and then, with Ipsos, consumer-tested them repeatedly in simulated conditions as well as in the real world. Arogya World then refined the messages, adapting them culturally for Indian audiences based on consumer feedback and review by its Behavior Change Task Force. Nokia Life provided the translation and transmission infrastructure, and transmitted more than 56 million mDiabetes text messages to the consumers throughout 2012. Messages were provided free to the consumers twice a week for six months.

“We are very pleased that Nokia Life was used as a platform in mDiabetes to demonstrate the power of mobile technology to advance health,” said Natesh, BV, Director, Emerging Markets, Nokia India. “In India, where cell phones are ubiquitous across multiple demographics, in rural and urban areas, mobile technology is often the primary source of trusted information for consumers. We are happy to have been part of this successful partnership and wish Arogya World the best in its future endeavors.”

Arogya World assessed program effectiveness by comparing responses of 950 consumers, based on telephone interviews, before and after they received the messages, and also by comparing them with the responses of a similar number of consumers who did not receive mDiabetes messages. The research design was developed with the input of many experts.  Analysis of program effectiveness is ongoing.

“Once our results are fully analyzed, we will share our learnings with interested partners so that such programs can be globally adapted and deployed with other large populations,” said Raj Davé, Senior Advisor, Arogya World.   “We are excited by what mDiabetes has shown us is possible and have many plans for program refinement and scale-up.”

We thank the following for their tireless commitment to this project: Sandhya Ramalingam, Arun Gowda from Arogya World; Nikhil Narayan, Dhananjay Naik from Nokia Life; Linelle Blais, Mallory Waters from Emory University; Monika Arora, Kanav Kahol from Public Health Foundation of India; Francine Kaufman from Medtronic; Ranjani Harish from Madras Diabetes Research Foundation; S. Chand from Infiniti Research; Abhishek Sharma, Tripti Sharma from Ipsos; Zoe Hellman from Weightwatchers, and Sukanti Ghosh from APCO Worldwide as well as our Behavior Change Task Force and Scientific Advisory Board.

Sixty-plus million Indians live with diabetes and 1 million die from it each year. Moreover, Indians get the disease 10 years earlier than counterparts in the West, often in their 30s and 40s. If untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, blindness, amputations and kidney failure. Diabetes is also a development issue. For a low-income Indian family with an adult with diabetes, as much as 25% of family income may be devoted to healthcare, pushing the family deeper into poverty. Importantly, the WHO emphasizes that approximately 80% of heart disease and diabetes and 40% of cancers can be prevented through healthy lifestyles such as avoiding tobacco use, eating healthy foods and increasing daily physical activity.  Prevention is at the core of all of Arogya World’s work.

A video on mDiabetes which is being shown at the CGI meeting today and additional background documents are available.

About Arogya World

Arogya World ( is a global health non-profit organization, committed to changing the course of chronic disease, one community at a time. Arogya means ‘good health’ in Sanskrit and denotes living life without disease. The organization believes deeply in prevention and is implementing programs for diabetes prevention through lifestyle changes in schools, workplaces and the community, in India. To further advance this work, Arogya World India Trust has been set up in Bangalore.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 400 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $73.5 billion.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at