Qatar spends QR1.8bn a year for diabetes treatment

 27 Sep 2016 - 2:56

Qatar spends QR1.8bn a year for diabetes treatment
Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani with other officials at the opening session of the International Diabetes Leadership Forum at Ritz-Carlton Hotel, yesterday.

By Fazeena Saleem / The Peninsula

DOHA: An estimated QR1.8bn is spent annually on treating diabetes and its complications in Qatar and the potential cost is likely to rise to QR 4.9bn by 2035, with an expected increase in the number of diabetics in the country to 299,000 by that year, the Minister of Public Health H E Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari said yesterday.
She was addressing the opening session of the International Diabetes Leadership Forum, which opened at  the Ritz-Carlton Hotel yesterday, in the presence of the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and a number of leading international experts. 
“Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in the world, and unfortunately, Qatar has not been spared from this trend. Advances in medical technology and the delivery of care in Qatar means most of those people are able to keep their diabetes under control and learn to live alongside it,” said Dr Al Kuwari. 
The minister said that one in six (17%) of the adult population in Qatar suffers from diabetes. The number of people with diabetes is predicted to reach 299,000 in 2035. It would increase to 368,000 by 2055 and the expenditure for treatment will reach QR8.4bn. 
Also an estimated 50% of all dialysis provided in Qatar is due to diabetes, half of acute coronary disease is associated with diabetes and close to 70% of all stroke patients have diabetes or pre-diabetes, she added.
“Our projections show us that without any change, the number of people suffering with diabetes is likely to double in the next 40 years, meaning this terrible disease would impact even more children, families and communities than it does today. With that, the potential cost of treatment and its complications is likely to rise to QR4.9bn by 2035,” said Dr Al Kuwari.
However, she emphasised that the situation would change if everyone take responsibility to combat the disease by finding new ways to identify people at risk, change prevention methods , and change lifestyle. 

The two-day forum being held in Qatar for the first time has brought together local and international diabetes experts, healthcare professionals, patient organisations, NGOs, policymakers and government officials. 
Dr. Shaukat Sadikot, President, International Diabetes Federation; Dr. Ala Alwan, Director, Eastern Mediterranean Region, World Health Organisation; Lewis Affleck, Managing Director, Maersk Oil Qatar; and Mads Bo Larsen, Vice-President, Novo Nordisk for Gulf, India and Egypt also addressed the opening session.
“Diabetes is an increasing problem in the region. Globally, nearly one in 10 adults suffer from it. But in some Middle Eastern countries, the number is one in five adults and is rising. By 2030, the number of people with diabetes in the Middle East is expected to increase from nearly 33 million today to almost 60 million,” said Dr Alwan. 
Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation globally and in the region.  “Diabetes today is a tsunami and the waves are getting higher and higher. Unfortunately, the Gulf is prone to see the highest percentage of increase in diabetes. About 415 million people in the world have diabetes, which is a huge number and they are increasing but half the people don’t know that they have diabetes,” said Dr. Sadikot. 
“We are at a war against diabetes. Sadly, we are losing the battle but we can win the war if we do something now because later will be late. All of us have to work together to push this tsunami back,” he added. 
After the opening session, workshops, discussions and partnership meetings were held on ‘Burden of Diabetes,’ related to Qatar and the region. A work plan to successfully implement Qatar National Diabetes Strategy 2016-2022 will be developed during the forum. 
The event is organised by the Ministry of Public Health; and Action on Diabetes, in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Healthcare Corporation, Qatar Diabetes Association, Novo Nordisk and Maersk Oil Qatar. It is supported by World Diabetes Foundation and International Diabetes Federation.