تحت رعاية سموّ الشيخ خالد بن محمد بن زايد آل نهيان، ولي عهد أبوظبي رئيس المجلس التنفيذي لإمارة أبوظبي
Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council
New diabetes screening campaign in UAE will help promote healthy lifestyle choices
A screening campaign to detect diabetes is being introduced across the UAE with centres being launched throughout the country.
The programme aims to promote healthy lifestyle choices and reinforce the importance of early detection, as well as create a supportive environment for the management of diabetes.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention, which launched the project on Thursday afternoon, said it would be the first of its kind in the country.
The National Prediabetes and Diabetes Screening scheme comes as the country faces a continuing battle to reduce the number of people who are being diagnosed with the disease.
“Regular screenings and access to healthcare services are of paramount importance not only for detecting diabetes but also for identifying pre-diabetes stages and providing key interventions," said Dr Omniyat Al Hajeri, executive director of the Community Health Sector at Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre.
"These interventions include improving lifestyle habits, adhering to a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity and, if necessary, using medications to prevent diabetes."
A year of screenings
The campaign is due to last for a year, with screenings taking place in public and private workplaces across the UAE.
The most recent figures available from the World Health Organisation estimate there are 422 million people worldwide who suffer from diabetes, the majority from low and middle-income families.
An estimated 1.5 million deaths are directly linked to the preventable disease each year.
It is estimated there are as many as one in five people in the UAE with diabetes, according to the figures from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a number predicted to double by the year 2040.
Diabetes can lead to kidney failure, heart attack, blindness, stroke and limb amputation when it causes a person's blood sugar level to reach dangerously high levels.
The most common form of diabetes in the UAE is Type 2. Both smoking and obesity are linked to the disease with doctors also blaming a sedentary lifestyle and a high consumption of junk food.
Helping to raise awareness
The new project will play a key role in the ministry's mission to improve public health within the community and raise awareness of preventive measures, said Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, assistant undersecretary for the Public Health Sector.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will also play a key role in the screening programme, the ministry says.
Data will be collected from participants in the campaign, which will be analysed to test the effectiveness of early detection and lifestyle changes in reducing cases of diabetes in the UAE.
The data will then be published in a medical paper on the impact of tracked pre-diabetes screening programmes.
"We have prioritised fighting diabetes and have therefore instructed the relevant departments to intensify efforts in detecting and controlling this disease, and to provide unparalleled services to this segment of patients," said Dr Yousef Al Tair, director of Ibrahim Bin Hamed Obaidallah Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah.
“Diabetes is a prevalent disease influenced by various factors and today’s campaign represents one of the initiatives undertaken to early detect the disease and immediately refer patients to specialised diabetes centres to provide timely treatment and mitigate its associated complications.”
In addition to the data tracking, there will be follow-up consultations after three and six months, as well as a special hotline set up to help those diagnosed.