- Both entities celebrated World Diabetes Day on November 14 and Diabetes Awareness Month, which is currently underway
- The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23, ‘Access to Diabetes Care,’ underscores the importance of early diagnosis and timely treatment
- An estimated 1.2 million people are living with diabetes in the UAE
Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), an M42 company, joins forces with Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), to combat diabetes and reduce its incidence in Abu Dhabi. Through increasing awareness around the causes of diabetes, its risks, the importance of early detection, in addition to need to accelerate research and innovation in the field, both entities are working together to bring forth solutions to combat the disease.
With World Diabetes Day being marked on November 14 and World Diabetes Month currently under way, their combined initiatives take on added significance, ICLDC continues to contribute to diabetes management in the country through its research and public health awareness campaigns, while ADPHC leads efforts in public health through preventative measures to support in raising awareness about the dangers of diabetes and the importance of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.
ADPHC’s efforts to raise awareness about diabetes and improve prevention, diagnosis and handling of the disease are ongoing and in accordance with international best practices. ICLDC is keen in contributing to this mission through organizing a year-round public health awareness campaign that promotes an active lifestyle through an ongoing calendar of events for the whole community. Part of these initiatives, include corporate health screenings which uses HbA1c testing to highlight the need for early diabetes screening, diagnosis, and treatment to maximize outcomes, efficiency, and targeted interventions. The Centre also offers interactive workshops delivered by diabetes specialists and nutrition experts on a range of topics ranging from ‘Diabetes Awareness’, to ‘Calorie Counting’, to ‘Healthy lunch boxes’ which is aimed specifically at school children and their parents and teachers.
Diabetes is a significant health issue in the UAE, with high rates of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes The lifestyle condition is also closely associated with other diseases, including cardiovascular illness, obesity and cancer, thus creating the need for concerted efforts to combat its incidence. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-23, “Access to Diabetes Care,” underscores the importance of delaying or preventing type 2 diabetes and its complications, with the slogan ‘Know your risk, Know your response.’ The campaign aims to raise awareness about the significance of understanding one’s risk of type 2 diabetes and the steps necessary for prevention, early diagnosis, and timely treatment.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the UAE has one of the world’s highest diabetes prevalence rates, standing at 12.3 per cent. From the 8 million adult population, nearly 990 thousand have diabetes, with a portion of the population yet to be diagnosed. These figures are in line with global trends in diabetes. As affluent lifestyles become more prevalent, more individuals are developing diabetes.
Dr. Mai Al Jaber, Chief Executive Officer for ICLDC, said: “We are delighted to stand together with our long-term partners ADPHC to raise awareness about the importance of tackling the rising incidence of diabetes in the country, especially with the advent of World Diabetes Day and World Diabetes Month under way. Screening is an important part of this, and we encourage everyone to be aware of the symptoms of diabetes and come forward for screening. Diabetes can have a severe impact on an individual’s life, and in a lot of cases an early diagnosis is life changing. Considering the increasing prevalence of the disease, we want to be able to support patients by improving their quality of life through tackling easily manageable symptoms, and through early-intervention tactics that might even reverse a type-2 diagnosis, in some cases.”
During the past 16 years ICLDC has provided diabetes screening for thousands of UAE residents and has launched several public health awareness campaigns to help curb the rise of the condition as well as provide practical strategies to manage it. In 2023 alone, ICLDC conducted over 50 workshops and health screenings for local schools and organisations. In collaboration with ADPHC, ICLDC has worked to raise awareness about diabetes prevention, detection and treatment in the UAE and the wider region. It has increased access to public spaces for residents to exercise and enabled healthy eating programmes in schools to teach children at a young age to make better food choices.
Her Excellency Dr. Omniyat Al Hajeri, Executive Director of the Community Health Sector, ADPHC said: “At the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, we are firm in our commitment to maintaining the health of the emirate’s residents and ensuring the safety of everyone by promoting the concepts of public and preventive health. World Diabetes Day served as a reminder to celebrate and continue with awareness efforts around diabetes and its impact on patients, while promoting early detection, in corporation with our partners in the healthcare sector. One such long-standing partnership is with Imperial College London Diabetes Centre. We have launched joint public health campaigns, including educational outreach programmes for diabetes awareness. These programmes have seen great success and it has continued to motivate us to do more. We look forward to seeing more successful stories, and more lives transformed.”
ADPHC recently organised the UAE Obesity Conference which took place on November 4 to 5. Endorsed by the World Obesity Federation (WOF), the UAE Obesity Conference addressed the obesity epidemic, a significant contributor to diabetes. ICLDC and HealthPlus Diabetes and Endocrinology Center, both M42 companies, have also hosted a two-day conference titled “Mubadala Health Diabetes Conference” from November 11 to 12, aligning with Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day.
Under Diabetes Awareness Month, everyone is encouraged to get screened for diabetes and take proactive measures towards better health. You can learn more about ICLDC’s diabetes awareness activities at https://www.icldc.ae/en/diabetes-health-hub and find out more about activities at ADPHC at https://www.adphc.gov.ae/