The UAE’s health ministry has issued a national plan to combat diabetes, which includes the setting up of mini-diabetes clinics at each primary health care center, reported the Abu Dhabi-based Khaleej Times newspaper.
The central diabetes clinics, already in existence as part of the primary health care system in the country, will be used as a model for setting up these mini clinics.
The ministry also aims to set up diabetes units at internal medicine sections of all public hospitals at the various medical districts in the country by the end of 2005, said the paper.
These units will act as secondary care centers supplementing the diabetes clinics and will also act as training centers for doctors.
The diabetes unit will consist of an outpatient clinic that will operate two or three times a week. Each unit will have an eye testing facility.
The size of each diabetes unit will not be less than 4 x 6 meters square with three to four diagnostic stations. Each unit will be assigned one consultant doctor with two or three specialist doctors, and two to three nurses.
The ministry will also set up a specialized diabetes center, which will carry out research into the disease and will train medical practitioners.
The center will have a modern and advanced conference center for holding medical seminars.
Abdel Ghaffar Abdel Ghafour, assistant under-secretary of curative medicine at the ministry, said that 15.75 percent of adults in the UAE are afflicted with the disease, while many more are genetically and environmentally predisposed to developing diabetes later in life but are unaware of the risks.
At the Diabetes 2001 Update symposium held in January this year, the idea of setting up a national awareness program on diabetes was highlighted in order to reduce the suffering of diabetic patients in the UAE by providing them as well as doctors with information on how best to manage and treat the disease, said the paper.
The national plan to combat the disease also outlines regular training courses for doctors at diabetes clinics and primary health centers, including training on the early detection and treatment of the disease. Procedures for referral of diabetic patients and combined care strategies involving diabetes clinics at medical centers and diabetes units at hospitals are also outlined.
"Treatment is simple and effective in the early stages of the disease, good diet and plenty of regular exercises. If such a regime is maintained there should be no problems, therefore early detection is vital," Abdel Ghafour told Khaleej Times.
Each training course for doctors includes 15 hours of study divided over five days. The number of courses held per year will range between two to three course programs.
The general goals of the national plan, to be accomplished within the next 10 years (2001 to 2010), include creating awareness among the general public and medical practitioners about diabetes, its causes, incidence rate, complications that result from the disease and the means to prevent the disease.
The goals include reducing the occurrence rate of the disease, improving the quality of life of diabetics and improving the medical skills of health care providers so as to improve its diagnosis system and treatment. The program also aims to prevent complications.
Among the serious complications that can occur due to diabetes is blindness. In the UAE in 1986, 20 percent of diabetes patients suffered complications; by 1995 the rate was down to 10 percent and by 2000 it had been further reduced to five percent – Albawaba.com