Diabetes: UAE’s ‘new health challenge’
AJMAN // The Ministry of Health undersecretary, Dr Salem Al Darmaki, said diabetes and obesity represented a “new health challenge” to the UAE as he opened a two-day conference on the subject.
Dr Al Darmaki said diabetes was of great concern and is why centres such as the Rashid Centre for Diabetes Research (RCDR) in Ajman were being set up across the country. The centre will host the regional conference, which is being held to coincide with World Diabetes Day on Thursday.
In a speech made on behalf of the Minister of Health, Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Dr Al Darmaki talked of the progress the UAE has made in recent years, such as eliminating diseases such as polio and making the UAE malaria-free.
“Today, we are facing a new health challenge. The high burden of non-communicable diseases, in general, and diabetes, in particular, as reflected in its high morbidity and mortality,” said Dr Al Darmaki.
“The Ministry of Health has endeavoured to provide healthcare of high standards to patients with diabetes and, hence, established in cooperation with the private sector, the RCDR in Ajman, to provide all the needed care for the patients under one roof.”
The UAE is ranked among the top 10 countries with a high prevalence of diabetes.
According to figures released by RCDR, the centre had a total of 24,420 visits scheduled last year, an increase of about 24 per cent from the previous year.
Of the people who visited, 85 per cent were found to have type 2 diabetes and seven per cent had type 1 diabetes.
Figures also showed that 61 per cent of those given a diabetes diagnosis were women and 39 per cent were men, mainly in the age range of 45 to 65 years.
Primarily Emirati diabetes patients are treated at the centre, said its chief executive, Bengt Ternstrom.
“Diabetes occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood and the body cannot use it properly,” he said. “Improving the health of a patient with diagnosed diabetes is dependent on a number of factors but, significantly, to start the treatment early.”
To mark World Diabetes Day, the centre, in the Al Jurf area, is offering free screening of blood glucose and blood pressure, measuring height, weight and body mass index, offering nutritional consultations and diabetes education services.
For more information, visit www.rcdr.ae.
Updated: November 12, 2013 04:00 AM