MENAFN - Khaleej Times
UAE- 12,000 join walk to beat diabetes
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Popular Pakistani cricket icon Wasim Akram along with an estimated 12,000 residents took part in the third edition of the 'Beat Diabetes' Walkathon in Dubai on Friday.
Thousands woke up at the break of dawn to head down to Oasis Centre in time to support the walk organised by Landmark Group.
The annual awareness campaign saw participants of all ages donning blue T-shirts and the crowd was pepped up by a musical session by Dubai Drums and warm-up session from Fitness First trainers before finally setting off on a 3.1km walk at 8am.
Akram, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, was present among the walkers as a symbol of encouragement. "It's great to see the community realising and supporting the cause. If I can live with diabetes for 16 years, play international cricket for 10 years and lead a normal life, others can do it too," he said.
One of the participants, an 18-year-old Lana Jarrah, dropped by with her family to join the walk and get sugar levels tested. "I never wake up early in the morning on weekend but decided to walk today for a change. Both my parents are diabetic and I think it's about time I got to know more about it and took care of myself," she said.
Sandeep Satvik, who walked along with his wife and son, said the family woke up at five in the morning, which is a habit for them, and joined the walk. "I joined because I thought it would be fun. I'm diabetic and thought it would be good to exercise and join others on this walk as well as learn some more about diabetes," said Satvik.
The parking lot of the mall had booths set up for visitors to test their blood glucose levels. "We had received about 9,000 registrations until last night and this morning we had about 1,500 more register on-site. We reckon it's close to about 12,000 people. It's brilliant to see so many people turn up on a Friday morning and it's endearing that they are willing to know more about diabetes and are supporting the cause," said Bhuvana Acharya, Head of Corporate Communications and CSR, Landmark Group.
"One in five people are diabetic in the world today out of whom one in two does not even know about it. Type 1 among kids is on the rise here in the UAE. Diabetes is a condition that can be prevented and managed with better lifestyle," said Acharya. Mario Fetz, Director of External Relations at the International Diabetes Federation, Brussels, said that the weather may be one of the reasons UAE residents feel discouraged from exercising but waking up early in the morning to walk can bring heaps of benefits to diabetics and non-diabetics.
"Walking is a form of exercise as well and it's important for those with diabetes and those without (for prevention). The climate is not very helpful but at least wake up early in the morning or do some fast walking when you go to shopping malls. When I asked the public if they know anyone with diabetes, almost everyone raised their hands. This just shows that there is a high prevalence of diabetes in this country. There are two things everyone should follow, that are exercise everyday and have a healthy diet. There is a direct link between obesity and diabetes, and with exercise you can prevent both," he said, adding that a brisk walk for half an hour, five days a week can decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Call centre for diabetics
A dedicated call centre to educate diabetic patients and help them raise queries and concerns with healthcare professionals has been launched by the Dubai Health Authority.
The authority, on Thursday, announced its plan to launch the Diabetes Management Programme (DMP) in association with Sanofi and Green Crescent.
The initiative was to mark World Diabetes Day 2011 and saw the participation of 2,000 students from schools across Dubai in a Children's Fun Day.
The event to announce the programme, which was held at Al Wasl Club, was inaugurated by Khalid Al Shaikh Mubarak, Deputy Director General of the authority. "Patients enrolled under the programme and visiting the Dubai Diabetes Centre will now receive enhanced diabetes educational support and regular follow-ups," he said. The follow-ups will be through e-mail, SMS and phone calls.
"Patients will have access to a dedicated call centre for diabetics which will be a direct platform for patients to raise their queries and concerns with regard to their condition," he said.
"We wanted to provide patients with a medium where they can directly contact healthcare professionals who can deal with their queries and concerns and to provide comprehensive support and guidance to enrolled patients through out-bound calls about how to manage their condition and to closely follow-up with them after their visit to ensure they are abiding by the doctor's instructions."
"The level of adherence by patients to diabetes treatment is low and therefore they are more susceptible to have complications. This is where DMP can help," said George Morcos, General Manager, Sanofi Gulf.
"Health care costs associated with treating diabetes are staggering: the average cost for treating an employee with diabetes is 13 times greater than the health care expenses associated with a 'healthy' employee," said Nathan Kennedy, Managing Director, Green Crescent Insurance Company.
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