High prevalence of diabetes is posing a serious healthcare challenge in the UAE, currently home to the second largest percentage population of diabetics worldwide.
One out of five people in the UAE has diabetes and according to the Ministry of Health (MOH), diabetes-related heart problems was the biggest killer in the UAE in 2008, accounting for 31.6 percent of deaths. Diabetes also consumes a major chunk of the UAE healthcare budget, with annual spend on treating the disease touching USD100-200 million.
Lack of awareness, unhealthy lifestyles, high rate of obesity and the prohibitive cost of treatment are all contributing to the high incidence of diabetes and its related casualties in the UAE.
“The World Health Organisation projects that diabetes deaths will increase by more than 50 percent in the next 10 years, without urgent action” said Dr Fatheya Alawadi, Congress Chair- Emirates Diabetes Congress (EDC 2009), an international medical forum scheduled to be held in Dubai from the 7th to 8th of November 2009.
Held in connection with this year’s World Diabetes Day, EDC 2009 will bring together the diabetic world’s best physicians and researchers, to discuss ways of tackling diabetic challenge faced by UAE and the region. The two-day event is supported by the Emirates Diabetes Society- Emirates Medical Association, a member of the International Diabetes Federation.
“EDC 2009 will help us join forces with the international medical community to build a broad awareness on the diabetes menace and adopt the latest treatment protocols” added Dr Alawadi.
The UAE Ministry of Health recently launched a 10-year plan to fight diabetes through stronger awareness, improved infrastructure and targeted research.
“EDC 2009 will support the MOH initiative by providing a platform for medical professionals in the UAE to learn about best practices in the treatment of diabetes from experts in this field,” said Dr Abdul Razak Al Madani, Congress President- Emirates Diabetes Congress 2009.