Joint study on prevalence of diabetes among locals

AL AIN — A joint UAE-US study supported by the UAE Red Crescent has been taken up to look into the high prevalence of diabetes among UAE nationals, and ways and means to tackle the problem.

By Lana Mahdi

Published: Fri 12 Aug 2005, 12:05 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:13 PM

The national diabetic survey which is expected to be completed by February, 2009, will help the government to assess the burden caused by the spread of diabetes on the national healthcare system.

Scientists from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, and researchers from the US research institute RTI International, are conducting the four-phase research programme. In February, the UAE Red Crescent presented a cheque of Dh200,000 to the UAE University for the initial research.

Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Education and Chancellor of the UAE University, and Dr Victoria Haynes, President of RTI International, signed the research collaboration agreement last year.

The significance of the project is reflected by earlier studies in the UAE which revealed that prevalence of diabetes in the country may be the second highest in the world.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UAE Ministry of Health study estimated in 2000 that there were 351,119 diabetic patients in the country, a number which was expected to grow to 648,309 by 2030.

WHO estimates that healthcare costs for diabetes range between 2.5 per cent and 15 per cent of the annual healthcare budget of the country. In addition, the cost of lost productivity of a nation may be as much as five times higher than actual healthcare costs.

Dr Maitha Al Shamsi, Assistant Provost for Research Affairs, UAE University, described the project as vital for national healthcare, and said it was vital for not only measuring the severity of the problem and develop prevention programmes, but would also work on the impact it would have on the economy.

The project includes a comprehensive survey of the rate of diabetes complications through questionnaire, development of individual medical profiles, besides conducting clinical and biological tests.

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