The Emirates Diabetes Congress (EDC 2009), an elaborate gathering of local and international experts aimed at supporting ongoing efforts to combat the high prevalence of the disease in the UAE, opened at the Grand Hyatt, Dubai today.
The two-day Congress, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, was opened by Dr Salim Al Darmaki, Acting Director General of the Ministry of Health.
Over 800 delegates, comprising doctors, researchers, diabetes educators, nurses and paramedical professionals are attending the Congress, organised by the Emirates Medical Association in connection with the World Diabetes Day, which falls on November 14.
Addressing the opening session of the Congress, Dr Abdurrazak Al Madani, President of Emirates Diabetes Society and CEO of Dubai Hospital, said that the Emirates Diabetes Congress assumes special significance in the backdrop of the ‘GCC Diabetes Executive Plan for 2008-2018’.
“The UAE healthcare sector has already made significant strides in achieving the goals of the GCC Diabetes Executive Plan, aimed to increase awareness on the risks as well as management and prevention of the disease. We hope to gain further in terms of international expertise and knowledge when Dubai hosts the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Congress in 2011,” Dr Al Madani added.
UAE has the dubious distinction of having the second largest incidence of diabetes in the world, with more than 20% of the population estimated to be diabetic. According to the Ministry of Health diabetes-related heart problems were the biggest killer in the country in 2008, accounting for 31.6% of deaths.
Unhealthy habits contributed by abundance of wealth and access to easier options in food and lifestyle are compounding the problem, further stretching healthcare systems and budgets in the UAE.
“We certainly have a growing problem. The epidemic has to be addressed. There have been huge strides and innovations in diabetes (management) and they continue to happen. It is our collective responsibility to understand, learn and share these new developments,” Dr Fatheya Al Awadhi, Congress Chair, said welcoming the delegates.
The Congress will discuss recent advances and best practices in the detection, prevention and treatment of diabetes, especially among high risk groups, especially pregnant women, children and the obese. Participating researchers and clinicians from the US, Europe, and Australia will also address various workshops and symposia at the Congress.
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