(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The HMC is planning to set up a diabetes integrated unit which will provide a comprehensive service to people with diabetes in the country, HMC's endocrinology and diabetes and internal medicine consultant Dr Mahmoud Ali Zirie said yesterday.
Part of the plan is also to soon begin operating diabetes clinics as part of services being rendered by some departments functioning at Medical City.
"Diabetes, which is very common in the Middle East, is prevalent in Qatar with some 15% of the population having type 2 diabetes whereas in western country it's in the range of 6 to 8% only," said Dr Zirie on the sidelines of a three-day awareness exhibition and campaign organised to mark World Diabetes Day.
World Diabetes Day on November 14 every year draws attention to the problem, raises awareness about healthy diet, regular physical activity as well as maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use.
All the prevention measures have proven to prevent or delay the onset of the most common type of diabetes.
More than 346mn people worldwide have diabetes, and more than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
"Each year, there is a theme for diabetes day and in the past it is usually about diabetes and the eyes, diabetes and the feet ... now from 2010 to 2014 it's about taking action; and HMC has taken the initiative which we will continue this year and the coming year since the International Diabetes Federation is calling for more action. It's better to act now than to wait till the disease starts," Dr Zirie said.
The three-day exhibition is being organised by HMC in co-operation with other healthcare organisations such as the Supreme Council of Health, Primary Healthcare Department, Qatar Diabetes Association and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.
Aside from the exhibition, there will be an event on November 25 at Katara featuring exhibition and awareness campaign and another symposium about decision making will be held on November 26 where health decision makers in the country will deliberate on what can be done to improve the diabetes programme in Qatar.
There will also be two different symposiums for diabetic educators and HMC staff on November 19 and 20 respectively.
Speaking to Gulf Times, endocrinology/medicine specialist Dr Wajha Abu Haliqa and diabetes educator Amina Mubarak said that about 30 to 40 patients are being seen daily in each of the two diabetes clinics at the medicine department.
According to official figures, 27-30% of children in Qatar are suffering from type 1 diabetes with about 120 of them on insulin and another 100 Qatari children on pump.
Diabetes treatment for Qataris is free while it is being subsidised by 20% for expatriates.