Posted on April 24, 2015

With one of the highest prevalence of diabetes, Qatar plans to make tests mandatory for all for early detection of the disease, said The Peninsula. The idea is to tackle the disease at an early stage and take preventive measures, a senior official of an apex public health authority said here yesterday.

Dr (Sheikh) Mohamed bin Hamad Al Thani, Director of Public Health at the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), said the Council will soon launch a National Strategy to curb diabetes. The focus of the strategy is on prevention of the disease, its early detection and treatment.  Providing treatment of international standard with a view to curbing the complications of types 1 and 2 of diabetes will be a key aspect of the strategy, Al Thani said. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an Arab Diabetes Congress that kicked off here yesterday and will continue until tomorrow.

The Congress is being held by the SCH in collaboration with Qatar Diabetes Society and its focus is on mulling preventive measures against the spread of the disease in the Middle East. The strategy is almost complete and the authorities concerned at the SCH are giving final touches for approval before it is ready for launch. And after a National Health Strategy 2011-16 is over, a preventive health plan will be launched whose focus will be on correcting food habits and fighting obesity.

Al Thani said that the idea behind holding the Arab Diabetes Congress is to help improve public health services in Qatar. The treatment of diabetes will be covered as part of the compulsory national health insurance scheme, he said. Diabetes is a burden on GCC societies as some 20 percent of their population suffers from type 2 diabetes, said the official. The complications of type 2 diabetes can be successfully fought and the spread of the disease can be prevented. The patients can be provided psychological support.

Al Thani reiterated that a 2012 survey found that some 16.7 percent of Qatari population was diabetic, making Qatar one of the 10 top countries battling the dangerous disease due to its high prevalence. At a panel discussion at the Congress, a speaker said that some 11 percent of the expenditure on healthcare was spent on diabetes alone. The cost of treatment worked out to between $200 and $400 per capita at the global level.