The World Health Organisation’s most comprehensive report on diabetes has found that there are now 415 million people living with the disease across the world. In the UAE, it’s estimated that one million people live with diabetes every day. *
Leading medical professionals in Dubai have resolved to combat the problem in the classroom, education school children on healthy eating habits and how to avoid long term health concerns.
There are more people living with diabetes in the Eastern Mediterranean than any other region in the world. The regional director of the WHO, Dr. Ala Alwan believes that as many as 43 million people live with the disease every day. *
What’s perhaps more alarming is that just 35 years ago, only 6% of the Eastern Mediterranean’s population were diabetic. Today, that figure has inflated to 14%. It’s believed that the principal cause of this drastic growth is unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and weight gain.
In 2012 alone, diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths worldwide. It’s estimated that 3% of all deaths in UAE were related to complications with diabetes. High blood glucose levels took the lives of an additional 2.2 million people through cardiovascular disease and associated conditions. What’s clear is that educating children about nutrition and diet is paramount. *
What the Government Intends to Do
By the year 2021, leading physicians in Dubai are committed to reducing the prevalence of diabetes in Dubai, and they see educating children now as the most effective way to do this.
In a bid to meet the mandate, Dubai’s Ministry of Health and Prevention has instigated an important initiative – to provide routine checks on all children in both government and private schools.
In addition to workshops and healthy-eating lessons, the initiative provides diabetic patients of all ages easy access to clinics and hospitals in the UAE. Patients will be given a free nutritional cookbook and a comprehensive booklet that answers all the frequently asked questions about diabetes, including early detection signs.
The government has also sponsored an informative animated film to be broadcast online and at clinics and hospitals across the UAE.
A collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Prevention, pharmaceutical conglomerate Astra Zeneca and the Emirates Diabetic Society, Circle of Care is a phased 3-year venture designed to educate and treat diabetic patients in Dubai.
Launched as a direct result of the 2015 findings of Project Hope, an international diabetes society, the primary phase was launched in 2016 and focused exclusively on educating Emiratis about diabetes. Subsequent phases helping people of all ethnicities, including South Asians and Europeans to receive the same levels of support and treatment are to be launched 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The initiative is designed to provide comprehensive information on the condition and empower people to take control of their physical health and manage their well-being. Equipping all healthcare professionals with the necessary educational tools to raise awareness about diabetes, Circle of Care will also help to educate those that are teetering on being diagnosed with diabetes and how they can make simple lifestyle changes to avoid a diagnosis.
What’s clear is that diabetes is an ongoing health concern for the people of the UAE, but the government is dedicated to tackling the issue and improving the health and well-being of citizens for a healthier and brighter future.
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