From left: Carl Sardegna, CEO of Green Crescent Insurance; Dr. Saif Al Jaibeji, manager, Care Managment Programme, Green Crescent; Dr Ahmad Majid and Dr Kassem Alom, managing director of Al Noor Hospital, after signing the agreement between Al Noor Hospital and Green Crescent to launch a chronic illness initiative. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The first privately-owned medical facility specialising in diabetic care opened its doors in the capital this week and will cater to a waiting list that comprises about 10,000 diabetes patients.

The Diabetes Care Centre is offering its services at two branches of Al Noor Hospital as part of the group's plan to provide a new chronic illness management initiative in partnership with Green Crescent Insurance Company, which started issuing its first insurance policies in January 2009 but has since notched up 70,000 members.

Health Authority Abu Dhabi (Haad) statistics show that the prevalence of diabetes among UAE residents has reached 25 per cent. In 2009 alone, diabetes care cost in the emirate of Abu Dhabi reached Dh3.7 billion, the Haad study said.

Carl Sardegna, chief executive officer of Green Crescent Insurance, labelled diabetes in the UAE an obvious epidemic, with health insurance companies spending up to 60 per cent on medicines related to diabetes. "Chronic illnesses account for most of the health insurance cost. That's why we are emphasising preventive medicine rather than curing the complications related to diabetes," he said.

"We have up to 10 health care professionals assisting a patient from the moment he/she walks in, and their visit will not exceed one hour. We are working on opening a third diabetes centre in Al Ain by the end of this year," Dr Kassem Alom, managing director of Al Noor Hospital, told Gulf News.

Speaking about what he called "the journey of care" for diabetic patients in the hospital, Dr Ahmad Majid, assistant managing director at Al Noor Hospital, explained that each patient will be greeted by an ambassador, who will guide him/her to a nurse for checking vital signs and blood sugar, urine and cholesterol tests.

An initial consultation with a doctor will then take up to 30 minutes. The ambassador then assists the patients to an opthalmologist for an eye check-up. The last stage is a visit to the pharmacy, to make sure the patient receives the correct medication.

"Once the patient undergoes all these steps, he/she meets a health educator who offers advice on healthy lifestyle habits. We are working on introducing a nutritionist into the programme," Dr Majid said.


Diabetes Care Center Timings for Green Crescent Insurance patients are as follows:

• Al Noor Airport branch - Tuesday from 8:30am to 5:00pm

• Al Noor Khalifa Street branch - Monday from 8:30am to 5:00pm


For more information: Call - 02-4944-773


Timings: Mark your visit

Diabetes Care Centre timings for Green Crescent Insurance holders are as follows:

- Al Noor Airport branch — Tuesday from 8:30am to 5pm

-  Al Noor Khalifa Street branch — Monday from 8:30am to 5pm.

For more information, call: 02-4944-773

Dizzying facts

- Dh3.7 billion — cost of treating diabetics last year

- Dh15,000 — cost of treating metabolic patients

- Average cost for treating diabetes is 13 times more expensive than other medical conditions

- Only 50 per cent of diabetics are diagnosed

- 31 per cent of patients are scheduled for doctor's appointment but 11 per cent show up

— Health Authority Abu Dhabi Statistics on Diabetes