Posted on November 29, 2015

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) hosted a series of events during the month of November in recognition of World Diabetes Day (WDD), screening thousands across the country and raising awareness of how to better manage and prevent the disease. Observed on 14 November, WDD was introduced by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991 in response to the increase in incidence of diabetes around the world. The global awareness campaign is aimed at increasing understanding of diabetes risk factors and symptoms.

“Raising awareness of diabetes through events such as World Diabetes Day is very important to the work we do as diabetes educators. World Diabetes Day events provide a platform for the spreading of messages about diabetes risk factors and symptoms and about the importance of good management as a strategy to help reduce the risk of complications for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics,” said Mrs. Manal Othman, Director of Diabetes Education at HMC. “Experience tells us that those who are better informed and engage in learning will feel more confident, know what questions to ask and live healthier lives,” added Mrs. Othman.

As part of the celebrations held in recognition of WDD, HMC hosted public screenings across the country, education programs in schools and workshops for healthcare professionals. HMC also hosted a three-day multi-cultural healthy food expo, which was officially opened on 15 November and featured a variety of cuisines, providing patients, visitors and members of the public with the opportunity to learn about healthier dietary options from diabetes educators and dietitians. The expo also featured height, weight and BMI consultation and blood glucose screening. HMC staff were on hand to distribute 2016 diabetes calendars, diabetes identification cards, education materials and other giveaways.

“High-profile screening events are important because a large number of individuals with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have the disease. When left undiagnosed, or when not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is a leading cause of preventable sight loss and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke,” said Dr. Mahmoud Ali Zirie, Senior Consultant and Head of Endocrinology, Diabetes Division at HMC.

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Speaking during the official opening of the multi-cultural healthy food expo at Hamad General Hospital, Dr. Zirie added that HMC’s WDD events are designed to highlight risk factors of the disease, raise awareness of associated signs and symptoms and to provide the public with strategies to manage and prevent diabetes and lifestyle-related conditions. Over 2,480 individuals were screened at Women’s, Al Khor and Al Wakra Hospitals during events organized as part of the WDD celebrations with 32 individuals referred to Primary Health Care Corporation for diabetes assessment. Staff from Women’s, Al Khor and Al Wakra Hospitals held diabetes checkups for patients and visitors and distributed healthy meals and education pamphlets on diabetes care and proper nutrition.

HMC also participated in a two-day exhibition at Sealine Beach Resort in Mesaieed with partner Action on Diabetes. The event included diabetes screening and dietary counselling. Information sessions at local elementary and secondary schools were also held during the month, teaching students, nurses and cafeteria supervisory staff how to manage diabetes in the school environment. Activities complemented the diabetes public awareness campaign launched by HMC in 2014 that aimed to highlight risk factors, educate about signs and symptoms and provide management and prevention strategies. An innovative 'pledge' website that asks participants to commit to easy, yet effective, measures in order to take charge of their own health, was also launched as part of HMC’s celebrations for WDD.

“The pledge website encourages the public to commit to a healthier lifestyle. For example, choosing water over sugary beverages, breaking unhealthy habits such as smoking and incorporating exercise into their daily routine by making small changes such as taking the stairs or parking a little further from the entrance,” added Mrs. Othman. For more information about diabetes, including how to make your pledge toward a healthier lifestyle, visit