Shining a Light on NCDs: Reflections on 2013

Posted on: December 13th, 2013 by Thea

2013 has been a good year for the NCD community and NCDs have definitely occupied a greater footprint on the world stage.  A historic omnibus resolution was passed at the World Health Assembly in May, where representatives accepted a number of ambitious targets and goals to reduce the burden of NCDs and also agreed to implementing WHO’s Global Action Plan on NCDs. In the months since, definite progress has been made to advance the NCD agenda, including an increase in dialogue on the role of NCDs in the post-2015 Sustainability Development Goals.

It has also been an exciting year for Arogya World and our work to prevent non-communicable diseases globally and to help people live healthier lives. In 2013, we have made great progress on our advocacy goals and on-the-ground work in India, delivering on promises made and taking up new challenges.

We are so grateful to the friends and supporters who make our work possible. Best wishes to you all in the new year.

2013 Accomplishments:


With Nokia, we completed mDiabetes, our ground-breaking 1 million-person mHealth diabetes prevention program in India, fulfilling our 2011 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment. We thank Nokia and our other partners – Emory, Aetna, Johnson & Johnson, Biocon.

Effectiveness results showed positive impact on all behaviors known to prevent diabetes.

mDiabetes text messages persuaded:

  • 11% more people to exercise regularly
  • 14% more people to avoid fried food
  • 15% more people to eat 2-3 fruits a day
  • 8% more people to eat 2-3 servings of vegetables a day.

Recognition included:

  • mDiabetes won a 2013 mBillionth Award
  • Finalist at the Vodafone Mobile4Good Award
  • Abstract and poster presentation at World Diabetes Congress in December 2013.
  • mDiabetes video was shown at the 2013 CGI Annual Meeting.

Healthy Workplaces – new 2013 CGI Commitment. 

Arogya World pledged to recognize 100 companies in India as Healthy Workplaces, according to criteria we developed in 2012 with input from multiple stakeholders. Through this program, we will help 1 million working people to lead healthier lives by 2016.   Partners include Public Health Foundation of India, Aon, and Nationwide-the Family Doctors. We are also collaborating with the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, on this important effort.

  • The first Healthy Workplace Award event was held in Bangalore on November 12, 2013, and attended by all Arogya World partners. Nine companies received awards, and a full-page ad congratulating the winners ran in Business Standard on World Diabetes Day (November 14, 2013).
  • Companies may apply for the Healthy Workplace Award after reviewing our criteria. Awards are decided after a formal site visit from a 3-person Arogya-led team to confirm compliance and award levels.
  • Four Arogya team members underwent lifestyle coach training for diabetes prevention in the workplace setting offered by Emory University in a CDC-led program.

10,000 Women’s Global Survey on NCDs – a new 2013 CGI Commitment

We received major funding support from Novartis and additional support from the Vitality Institute to launch this initiative. Arogya World has assembled additional partners, including UNICEF, PSI, Abt SRBI, and Jana. Survey implementation will take place in 2014.

Healthy Schools program in India

This two-year program funded by Merck in 2,000 Delhi middle school children was completed, and showed good results. We thank our partner Hriday for excellent work.

The Healthy Schools program used age-appropriate compelling educational materials and was implemented by trained teachers and peer-leaders.  Results showed:

  • Children understood that establishing good exercise and diet habits while they’re young can help them to prevent diabetes, a serious disease, when they are adults.
  • They reported choosing healthier foods and increasing physical activity.
  • Our program encouraged students to champion healthy living in school and at home, and they enjoyed becoming health advocates.

This program is currently being expanded and implemented in Amber Valley, a residential school in South India, and by Agatsya Foundation in 10 government schools in rural South India.

Other Notable Events:

  • Arogya World’s Nalini Saligram was invited to speak at a sponsored satellite symposium at the World Diabetes Congress on December 3, 2013.
  • A successful fundraising event was held in Chicago on October 11, 2013, and attended by 125 guests. A great time was had by all – Arogya World was able to share our work and mission with a new audience, and earned many new donors.
  • Arogya World underwent thorough external financial review in the U.S.  We are proud to have operated with a lean organization and considerable in-kind support from our active board and volunteers. We raised approximately $300,000 in 2013.
  • Throughout the year, Arogya World engaged in important conversations with global health authorities and governments on our population-level mHealth approach in India.