Ras Al Khaimah: More than 30,000 UAE residents will be screened this year by the RAK Diabetes Centre in line with the World Health Organisation’s 2016 theme ‘Beat Diabetes’.

The RAK Diabetes Centre announced yesterday (Tuesday) the launch of a massive complimentary screening programme open to all associations and companies in Dubai and in the northern emirates.

In a first-of-its-kind awareness and prevention campaign in the UAE, the centre aims to partner with a number of organisations to provide a holistic and comprehensive diabetes screening for at least 30,000 UAE residents this year. The initiative that will run until April 2017, will also include free culinary classes for employees of various organisations by celebrity chef Andy Campbell with a focus on healthy, nutritious and low caloric foods that can help defeat the disease.

The comprehensive screening will include tests for BMI (Body Mass Index), blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, body composition analysis as well as consultation with a RAK clinical dietician and diabetes educator. Screening will also include an HBA1C test to measure the body’s blood sugar levels over a period of weeks/months.

To be hosted at RAK Diabetes Centres in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, the campaign is expected to draw around 80 to 100 people on average each day, assisting UAE residents with early speciality care and educating them on managing diabetes in everyday life.

“The fact that WHO has chosen diabetes as its theme for this year should give an idea of the high prevalence of the disease,” said Dr Raza Seddiqi, CEO of Arabian Healthcare Group, the parent company for RAK Diabetes Centre.

Globally, he said, roughly 422 million people live with diabetes and in the UAE around 19.3 per cent of UAE residents are affected by it. However, there is still a large number of people who are either on the verge of getting diabetes or already have it, but are unaware. “This extensive campaign will be reaching out to that particular segment as well as thousands of other people who need to understand the severity of the disease and the lifelong impact it can have on their lifestyle,” he added.

“Logistically speaking, pushing the initiative via organisations is the most practical route, since we can now reach out to a much bigger number of people. We would like the organisations to play an active role in this regard, since healthier employees would mean better productivity at work, fewer sick leaves and high morale in general. We’ve also involved families, mainly to help stagger the alarming rise of diabetes in children, particularly Type 1 diabetes.

“RAK Diabetes Centre has invested millions in this initiative with the sole purpose of creating a diabetes-controlled UAE, and in effect a healthier environment for both adults and children. Our aim is to help control a disease that is not only the root of several other ailments but, eventually, a severe burden on the health budget of any country. We are aiming to continue the campaign until next April but, depending on the outcome, we hope to take it forward another year,” added Dr Seddiqi.

The RAK Diabetes Centre focuses on providing complete medical care, education and support. The centre offers comprehensive and holistic diabetes care by providing access to a multidisciplinary team including cardiologists, ophthalmologists, endocrinologists, diabetes educators, dieticians, podiatrists, internists and general practitioners all under one roof.