Under its “Excellence across Borders” program Bayer HealthCare supports local projects in order to improve care of people with diabetes. With this program, Bayer HealthCare actively promotes a country-specific approach in countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region with still low awareness in broader part of the population by sharing knowledge and experience in excellence-oriented networks.
Among the projects is a new Diabetic School Awareness Program aimed at teenagers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which has now been started. The program intends to enhance diabetes awareness and management to reduce the number of people at risk and is supported by the Association of Diabetic Patient Friends in Jeddah and Bayer HealthCare’s “Excellence across Borders” initiative. It presents a local approach to improve knowledge about current options in the diagnosis, therapy, and prevention of diabetes in this region.
“Improving the conditions for people living with diabetes will undoubtedly be one of the most challenging health issues of the 21st century,” said Gerd-Walter Rohm, initiator of the initiative “Excellence across Borders” at Bayer HealthCare.
“Raising awareness among the younger population and sharing best practice is an important priority to drive progress on diabetes management.”
Saudi Arabia has the second highest comparative prevalence of diabetes in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. The country’s rapid urbanization has influenced the lifestyle and nutrition of its people over the past three decades, leading to epidemic proportions of about 23 percent of the adults affected by diabetes mellitus.
“The ‘Excellence across Borders’ program fosters regional cooperation on all levels of diabetes management, helping us to further meet our patients’ needs”, explained Professor Hassan Hussein Fatani, Consultant Endocrinologist at King Abdulaziz University (KAAU) Jeddah and Erfan Hospital and President of the Association of Diabetic Patient Friends, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “Our project evaluates the level of diabetic problems among young people in Saudi Arabia. With the results, we can recommend ways for changing youth lifestyles and reduce the number of people at risk.”
Located in the Jeddah region, the Diabetic School Awareness Program aims at addressing the younger population that constitutes about 70 percent of the total population. Healthcare professionals will visit local schools to assess current prevalence rates of type 1 and 2 diabetes, and to assess information on obesity and glucose intolerance among teenagers twelve to 18 years old. All classes and students within the school will be targeted for the awareness program via various educational activities. The fieldwork will screen students at ten to 14 schools representing different socio-economic backgrounds. As a first step, questionnaires will be conducted through all classes. Additionally, 20 to 30 percent of the student body will be encouraged to have a random capillary blood sugar test. If the results are over 130mg/dl, the respective students will be encouraged to receive further testing for an accurate diagnosis. Students will be educated by science teachers and health workers in improving personal lifestyles through lectures, audio-visual aids and educational activities.
Developments from all over the world show the urgent need for initiatives such as the Diabetic School Awareness Program. New estimates recently published by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) show that 371 million people worldwide are suffering from the metabolic disorder and another 187 million are still to be diagnosed. In a global context, four out of five patients are living in low and middle income countries where diabetes has turned into a major economic and political burden.
With “Excellence across Borders”, Bayer HealthCare actively supports a country-specific approach in countries with insufficient awareness in a broader part of the population and diabetes management standards by sharing knowledge and experience in excellence-oriented networks. Participants may learn from one another and become inspired and motivated to search for new local options in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diabetes in their home countries.
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