Diabetes cases in Qatar are still on the rise and the assumption based on a previous survey that showed a downward trend, is unfounded, a senior official of the Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA) said yesterday.
QDA along with the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) and the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is now planning a new survey to zero in on more accurate information about the prevalence of the disease in the country.
“There is no reason to believe that diabetes cases in Qatar are declining. Such assumptions are based on an earlier survey which was not accurate. The medical community here now feels that there is the need for a new study. We are now working on that jointly with the Supreme Council of Health and other partners in the Qatar Foundation,” Sharoud Al Jundi, Program Manager at QDA told this newspaper yesterday.
“There was another survey saying that there was a slide in the incidence of the disease. This cannot be true,” said Al Jundi adding that the prevalence could be higher now since the risk factors among the entire population, particularly children and the youth have increased.
According to available statistics, around 17 percent of the Qatari population is diabetic. This data was based on a joint survey conducted last year with participation of QDA. She said a more alarming issue was the rapid rise in diabetes cases among the youth and adolescents. “About 40 percent of the Qatari children are obese and obesity is directly linked to diabetes,” said Al Jundi. She said Qatar and other GCC states fall among the 10 countries with the highest incidence of diabetes in the world. World Health Organization (WHO) data indicate that 171 million people in the world suffer from diabetes.
The number of people with diabtes is expected to reach 366 million by the year 2030.
In line with the theme of the World Diabetes Day ‘Diabetes Education and Prevention’, QDA has been conducting a Diabetes Prevention Awareness Campaign in schools and workplaces.
“We are working very hard visiting one to two schools per week because if you educate a child in school, you change and save a life,” Al Jundi said.
Other than schools, QDA is also focusing on workplaces enlightening employees how to manage and prevent the disease especially Type 2 diabetes.
“We come to any institution that asks our services such as Qatargas, Kahramaa, and municipalities. We talk to the workers and the management informing them how to manage diabetes if they have it and how to prevent it if they don’t,” said Al Jundi.
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