A year-long study to establish the prevalence of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in children aged between five and 18 is to be carried out by a doctor in Dubai. Dr Ghaida Qadaha, a consultant diabetologist at Rashid Hospital in Dubai, said her study would be the first of its kind to provide data on these diseases in this "highly susceptible age group". The data would be used by local government and policymakers to help devise preventive health strategies and plan future healthcare provision, she added.
Dr Qadaha, who is one of five doctors in the Gulf region to be awarded grants by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-aventis to improve diabetes management, will also be running a programme to train nurses to deal with diabetic patients. "This project will help us establish a network of health professionals with a certain level of skills, knowledge and experience in the field of diabetes education," she said.
"It will also improve patients' access to diabetes educational support services." Dr Qadaha will train up to 100 health professionals in diabetes education and assign 10 diabetes patients to each. Another UAE doctor to win one of the grants is Dr Hussein Saadi, professor of internal medicine and consultant endocrinology at the UAE University in Al Ain. He will investigate the prevalence of diabetes complications among 800 Emirati adults - something, he said, that had not previously been looked at in any depth.
According to the World Health Organisation, the UAE has the second highest rate of diabetes in the world. Dr Saadi will conduct a health and lifestyle survey on newly diagnosed, undiagnosed and untested Emiratis. He hopes to "increase community awareness of the serious nature of diabetes if not diagnosed early". His study will also raise awareness of diabetes complications and the factors associated with the rapid onset of these complications.