Experts leading a new public screening campaign in Qatar, named Action on Diabetes, have highlighted that an estimated 16 percent of the state’s adult population is diabetic.
The campaign has based its findings on screening of adults between the ages of 20 to 79 years. The tests show that out of the screened 2785 individuals, 555 of them had abnormally high levels of blood sugar. The higher sugar levels placed them at an increased risk of having diabetes in the future. Latest figures from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) show that Qatar has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. The tiny Gulf state spends about 10 percent of its total health care budget on diabetes care.
The Action on Diabetes public screening campaign is being run across major Doha malls to help the local population understand the risk of this lifestyle induced disease and educate them about the importance of regular diabetes screening. As part of the campaign, free testing services and expert advice from professional dietitians are also being provided.
According to Dr. Mahmoud Zirie, head of endocrinology at Hamad Medical Corporation, “the campaign highlighted that the number of people in Qatar who are unaware of their diabetes condition or are pre-diabetic is rather high. By 2030, it is estimated that the number of people with diabetes will almost double. However, with initiatives such as the screening campaign we are trying to significantly lower these numbers through education, early detection and intervention”.
Qatar is now also taking action against obesity by introducing anti-obesity awareness classes in schools. Around two-fifths of school children in Qatar are believed to be overweight and at risk of developing lifestyle induced diseases in later years. A report by Al Jazeera points out that the trend of type-2 diabetes is already on the rise among children.
Image courtesy: Qatar Diabetes Association