Dubai: The UAE will have a national diabetes registry by the end of 2016, Ministry of Health and Prevention officials said on Wednesday. This registry will have an exhaustive record of the number of people suffering from Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and will help provide a better grip on the management of the disease, said Dr Hussain Al Rand, assistant undersecretary for primary health clinics at the ministry, speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a new pan-UAE Diabetes initiative Circle of Care.

Under this initiative, diabetic patients across clinics and hospitals in the UAE can now expect a free nutritional cookbook, an exhaustive booklet on Frequently Asked Questions and access to an informative animation film which will be broadcast online and at clinics and hospitals, officials said.

Circle of Care, a result of a collaboration between the ministry, the Emirates Diabetic Society and the pharmaceutical Astra Zeneca, is a phased venture which will run for three years. The first phase, which kicked off on Wednesday, will focus exclusively on Emiratis and the subsequent phases will fan out to cover South Asians, Europeans and other ethnic groups.

This initiative was launched as result of the findings of an international diabetes study conducted in 2015 in the UAE called Project Hope. The feedback from the study indicated that there were many social, educational challenges and cultural gaps between understanding, treatment and management of the condition.

The initiative is designed to bridge that gap between existing information on the condition and what is required to empower patients. It seeks to equip all health-care professionals with the necessary educational tools to create awareness on the disease and educate pre-diabetics and help diabetics effectively manage their condition.

Dr Al Rand said: “This partnership reinforces the ministry’s goal to form strategic partnerships for community programmes, which supports the UAE National Health Agenda 2021 to improve the curative and preventive services related to chronic diseases in the UAE.”

Dr Abdul Razzak Madani, president of Emirates Diabetes Society, said that the UAE was taking several steps to bring down the prevalence of diabetes and this initiative would help. “We have been in the process of conducting a nationwide study on the prevalence of this condition for the last two years and expect to conclude the study by the end of 2016. As per our research, there are a large number of pre-diabetic patients. Nearly 30 per cent of patients with T2D (Type 2 Diabetes) fall in the age group of 49-60 while 7 per cent fall in the age group of 29-49. This initiative will help delay the onset of diabetes in pre- or borderline diabetics as well as help those diagnosed to manage the condition and have control on their blood sugar. This will help delay manifestations of diabetes-related complications.”

Samer Hallaq, Area vice -president for AstraZeneca Middle East, said: “This initiative is based on three pillars: first, a focus on uplifting health-care professionals’ medical capabilities, supporting initiatives set by local health authorities and medical societies regarding the importance of early diagnosis and diabetes control. Second, providing new and culturally relevant diabetes resources and materials specifically developed for UAE residents, in line with the findings of the Project Hope report, which focused on the main challenges that diabetic patients face. Third, scientific research on diabetes, in which the UAE is taking part.”