Bahrain minister urges plan to fight diabetes
Manama, March 3, 2013
A quarter of people in Bahrain could get diabetes if a national plan to prevent the spread of the disease is not introduced, said a top government official.
Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi told delegates at the first International Diabetes Symposium that more than 14 per cent of people aged over 20 already suffer from the life-long condition and rates are on the rise, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News.
More than 200 doctors, experts and consultants from the US, UK and GCC gathered in Manama for the opening of a conference to discuss the issue yesterday.
"This symposium is a clear proof of our understanding of the size of the problem," said Al Shehabi.
"It is for this very reason that we are required to set up a comprehensive national plan that is in line with the Gulf and international objectives and strategies for the prevention of such chronic diseases.
"There is a need to seriously and comprehensively fight diabetes and all its associated diseases to control its complications and enhance its treatment."
Al Shehabi said the ministry provided a clinic for chronic diseases in all government health centres as well as a referral clinic for diabetes in every governorate.
"Recently, HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa ordered the construction of a new medical complex in Muharraq that will house a national centre for the treatment of diabetes," he said.
"Keeping abreast of medical developments and renewing knowledge are the basic requirements of the medical profession."
Management of obesity, latest clinical trials, future of stem cell transplantation and diabetes management in Ramadan are among some of the issues being discussed during the two-day event.
Delegates are expected to issue a series of recommendations at the closing session today.
The event is taking place at the Princess Al Jawhara Centre for Molecular Medicine, Genetics and Inherited Disorders in Salmaniya.
Arabian Gulf University president Dr Khalid Al Ohaly said tackling diabetes was top priority in the Gulf.
"The Arabian Gulf University has decided to embark on a diabetes clinical research programme in the region to co-ordinate efforts with various hospitals in Bahrain as well as researchers," he said. "This is aimed at unifying national efforts in fighting the disease."
Symposium chairperson Dr Nasreen Al Sayed said the event aimed to help prevent diabetes, educate patients and discuss treatments and ways to prevent complications.
"It focuses on issues unique to the Middle East, such as handling diabetes during Ramadan," she said. "It will also feature practical workshops with patients volunteering to demonstrate examination techniques."
Dr Al Sayed said challenges related to the disease such as obesity would also be raised.
"The primary goal of this symposium is to close the professional gap among physicians regionally and globally and discuss means for implementing the most recent diabetes practice guidelines," she said.
"The International Diabetes Federation estimates that at least five countries in the Middle East will be among the top 10 countries in terms of prevalence of diabetes by 2030, representing a primary reason for this event." – TradeArabia News Service
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