Middle Eastern states such as the UAE have achieved remarkable progress in the span of just a few decades through their vast oil wealth and rapidly diversifying economies. An unintended by product of this modernization has been the rise in lifestyle conditions such as diabetes. In the Emirates, around 20 per cent of citizens are believed to be living with diabetes. Over the past few years the Emirates has had the second highest prevalence of diabetes cases in the world.
Through collective nationwide efforts to stem the harmful social and economic impacts of diabetes, the UAE has successfully dropped from second to 10th among countries with the highest incidents of diabetes. With around 24 per cent of citizens afflicted with the disease, government has stepped up funding for treatments to around 40 per cent of the national health care budget. Medical organizations such as the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre have also helped bring in more effective treatments and expertise. Moreover, major campaigns such as ‘Diabetes-Knowledge-Action’ have been of great help in raising public awareness on the harmful effects and prevention of this disease.
Among the UAE’s active proponents for a healthier national lifestyle is H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. H.H. Sheikha Fatima is the patron of the award-winning Diabetes-Knowledge-Action programme which counts the annual ‘Play for Life’ seven-aside football tournament among its most successful initiatives.
Organized by the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, Play for Life pits corporate teams against each other while uniting participants in the UAE’s fight against diabetes. This year’s 5th edition will be taking place from October 7 to 11, 2012 at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City complex.
More than 3,000 spectators are expected to cheer on the players during this year’s night tournament, which major organizations such as Injazat consider an ideal platform for affirming and experiencing the benefits of exercise and the importance of health. Injazat, a staunch supporter and active participant of the games since its inception, will field its own contingent of 20 in-house players to compete against 15 other teams from the corporate world.
“Almost a fifth of the UAE’s population has diabetes. Most have the Type 2 variant which can be easily prevented by exercising regularly and following a good diet. H.H. Sheikha Fatima’s health campaign has helped a lot in educating people on the causes and effects of this condition and how they can actually lead a diabetes-free life via a healthy lifestyle. Injazat considers ‘Play for Life’ a valuable vehicle for getting industry to work together for the good of the community and advocate greater well-being among the UAE’s citizens. It is precisely these kinds of collaborative platforms that have helped the UAE improve its global ranking in the prevalence of the disease,” said Ali Al Neaemi, Chief Corporate Support Officer, Injazat Data Systems.
The games under the five-day tournament will begin at 7pm daily. Injazat looks forward to socializing with other organizations that share its concern towards community well-being and support for valuable causes such diabetes control and treatment.