DHA Diabetes
DHA highlights a number of initiatives and services to combat diabetes. Image Credit: iStock

Dubai: UAE is among the top 10 countries in the world with high prevalence of diabtes as around 19 per cent of the country’s popoulation suffer from this ‘silent pandemic.’

In light of World Diabetes Day, which falls on November 14, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) highlighted its initiatives and specialised services that aim to provide diabetics with quality diagnostic, preventive and treatment services.

“In order to meet the national agenda of reducing diabetes prevalence in the country from 19 per cent to 16.4 per cent by 2021, there is a need to make the public aware about the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise,” said Dr Fatheya Al Awadi, Head of Endocrinology Department at Dubai Hospital and Head of DHA Diabetes Committee.

“We hope to make people aware of this message through various activities that the authority is planning on launching,” she added.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), in 2017 approximately 425 million adults (20-79 years) were living with diabetes; by 2045 this will rise to 629 million.

Diabetes impact

Due to the high risk people with diabetes have in developing a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, strokes, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation, the DHA launched a number of initiatives that will help prevent these complications.

Diabetes Registry

Dr Al Awadi said that among these initiatives is the ‘Diabetes Registry’, which has been developed in-house by the DHA diabetes committee, the IT department and the DHA electronic medical record team (SALAMA).

“The registry captures complete details of every diabetic patient that visits any of the DHA health facilities. It is a tool that helps us get accurate information about diabetics in Dubai. We can then use this data to see whether there is an increase in the number of diabetics and tailor-make management strategies accordingly,” she said.

Dr Al Awadhi added that the registry will help endocrinologists learn about patient’s characteristics and help understand their likelihood of developing complications and base preventive and curative policies based on this data.

Joint clinics

DHA’s hospital also introduced joint clinics for diabetics with complications to ensure they receive highest level of multidisciplinary care and for their convenience.

“The joint clinic is the first-of-its kind initiative in Dubai. They provide an opportunity for diabetics to visit multiple healthcare experts at the same time rather than taking several appointments, which is time-consuming and inconvenient,” she said.

For pregnant women who are diabetic or have gestational diabetes, a joint clinic was established so that pregnant women can visit their obstetrician and their endocrinologist at the same time.

“This ensures excellent levels of multidisciplinary treatment and is time-saving. The clinic is available on a weekly basis at Dubai Hospital and on a monthly basis at Latifa Hospital,” said Dr Al Awadhi.

Similarly, the DHA has introduced two new joint clinics in Dubai Hospital. The first clinic is a joint clinic with nephrologists and endocrinologists for diabetics with kidney problems. This clinic takes place on a monthly basis.

“The second clinic is a weekly thyroid clinic where the patient see the endocrinologists and if required they can get an urgent Thyroid ultrasound and biopsy done by the endocrine team and refer to surgeon if indicated. Consequently, within two weeks they will receive a treatment plan which is based on inputs from multidisciplinary medical experts,” said Dr Al Awadhi.

Al Awadi said paediatric patients with diabetes & endocrine disorder are moved to the adult clinic when they are 13 years of age. To ease this transition, the DHA has introduced a joint clinic with pediatric endocrinologists and adult endocrinologists so that young adults are comfortable in their new healthcare environment. The clinic runs every 3 months.

Dr Al Awadhi revealed that the Endocrine Department of DHA is an accredited center of excellence by the International Diabetes Federation.

Education and Awareness

Dr Al Awadhi added that the endocrine department at DHA is highly engaged in educational activities for healthcare professionals across Dubai, UAE and the region.

“This is as we believe that one of the best ways to ensure better management for people with diabetes is through raising the skills and knowledge of the service providers.”

To raise awareness among the public about the importance of early diagnosis of diabetes and the importance of managing diabetes, the department holds a number of diabetes awareness campaigns throughout the years within DHA facilities.

“We also hold campaigns in schools, universities authorities ,societies and labor camps to increase the awareness among people who have diabetes and their families as well as the entire community. This is in line with the theme for diabetes awareness month and World Diabetes Day 2019, which is Family and Diabetes.”

Beat Diabetes Walk

Dr Al Awadhi added that the DHA in collaboration with Emirates diabetes society (EDS) and Landmark Group are launching their annual “Beat Diabetes” walk on November 15, 7am at Zabeel Park, Gate 3, to raise awareness about Diabetes among Dubai residents.

The UAE is among the top 10 countries with high prevalence of diabetes in the world, which is why raising awareness about the disease and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle is essential.

“We hope to make people aware of this message through the walkathon and other activities that the authority is planning on launching,” she added.

Al Awadi said that following the walkathon a series of fun activities and free screening will be available for the public to take part in the walk.

Ras Al Khaimah Hospital launches diabetes campaign

Meanwhile, RAK Hospital has launched its 'Let’s Beat Diabetes' campaign on the occasion of the World Diabetes Day. The programme will officially kick-off through a Fun Zumbathon Event being organised on Friday, November 15, 2019 from 7 pm – 9 pm at Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah.

“It’s our commitment to contribute to UAE’s goal of reducing the prevalence of diabetes in the country by 2021. I would like to encourage and invite people to come forward in large numbers for the Zumbathon event as well as for screenings and take preventive measures towards their health and wellbeing” , commented Dr Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director at RAK Hospital.

The hospital is also collaborating with the emirate’s government and corporate sector to screen office goers at their premises for diabetes and cardiac health.

“Diabetes is predatory by nature and often leads to other chronic health issues out of which cardiac episodes and retinopathy are among the two most common outcomes. In a situation like this our immediate concern is to control the disease through proper management so that it does not impact other organs. However, the bigger concern is the sizeable population that is not even aware having diabetes, and which is at a higher risk of suffering from cardiac and vision issues,” commented Dr Jean Marc Gauer, Head of Department, Surgery and CEO at RAK Hospital.

“Through this campaign we’re reaching out to the RAK residents to convey the message that diabetes is not an isolated ailment. To manage and control the disease we need a holistic approach that takes into account consultation with cardiologist, neurologist, ophthalmologist and endocrinologist, among others,” added Dr Raza.