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Monday, August 30, 2010

Diabetes Prevention - Health Ministry to Launch War on Diabetes

Diabetes Prevention - a Ten-Year Plan has been instituted by the Abu Dhabi's Ministry of Health to battle the diabetes epidemic. They started their program in 2009 and I will follow their progress from year to year and report it to you from time to time. You see, my plan is to find out if this ten-year plan will be a success and whether we can have this implemented all over the world.

The ten-year plan includes improvement in all areas including facilities, services, education and research. I believe that improvement in all those aspects will certainly contribute to the control and prevention of diabetes. Services and facilities are my two favorite areas to improve.

What spurred the action of the Ministry of Health is the fact that approximately 24% of Emiratis have been diagnosed with diabetes. Compare that figure with the one released by the World Health Organization and you know that the 24% figure is dismal indeed. The global occurrence of diabetes according to WHO is 2.8%.

The plan of the Ministry of Health involves both secondary and primary ways of preventing diabetes. It includes improving the healthcare services for the diabetics and assessment of the research that pertains to diabetes. They will also have patients as well as their families involved in the quality control of the services which is just the right thing to do, don't you think?

The diabetics and their families are in the best position to assess the quality of the services and facilities because they are at the receiving end of both. We do not want anyone to evaluate the quality of services who have not even actually experienced the best of the services or the lack thereof.

Community participation will be encouraged to fight diabetes. The health, psychological and social effects of diabetes will be confronted as well as awareness will be promoted. People will be advised to have test periodically so that early treatment can be started. This will be a crucial part of diabetes prevention.

They planned to have a publicity campaign with the focus on the incidence of diabetes. In fact in 2003, an endocrinologist invited by the Ministry of Health on the program of visiting doctors called diabetes as the "disease of the century." Doctors also expect about half of the people inflicted by this condition do not know they have it.

The growing crisis is the fact that type 2 diabetes is linked to lack of exercise and obesity which are lifestyle risk factors. Diabetes is expected to cost $2.7 billion US a year to treat in 2020. This is according to Daman which is the national health insurer. That is why they instituted a "lifestyle coaching" service so that the burden on the health care system will be reduced.

They had a 5km walk as part of the WALK UAE event. The number of participation doubled so awareness is growing. The walk was organized by the Abu Dhabi's Imperial College of London. They partnered with the Emirates Foundation. You see, they are working hard to make this work - the Ten-Year Plan of Diabetes Prevention.

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