National Diabetes Awareness Program -Control Program- launched in Saudi Arabia

May 31, 2014 11:22 am

Global Healthcare leader, Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) in partnership with the Saudi Society of Endocrime & Metabolism (SSEM) announced plans to run a nationwide campaign to increase the awareness of the effects of type II diabetes and its complications amongst the general population and professionals in the healthcare sector.

The campaign launch will be celebrated on 22nd of May at the Marriott Hotel in Riyadh and will draw attention on the importance of ‘training the trainer’ to assist healthcare providers across the Kingdom.

Among the Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) advocates featured in this year’s campaign – control project – are well renowned physicians and experts from MSD, Saudi Society of Endocrime & Metabolism (SSEM), Ministry of health (MOH) and the American Diabetes Association. The advocates will share their experiences and will host a series of educational sessions focusing on how to decrease the diabetes burden and complications while improving the quality of life.

“We are urging people to consider the risks and have a conversation – find out your family history, check your diet and exercise routine and speak to your doctor if you think you could be at risk of developing type II diabetes.” Said Dr. Mohamed Al Harbi, the Head of diabetic centers & unites in the Ministry of Health.

Statistics from the 5th Atlas International Diabetes Federation (IDF) show that six of the world’s top ten countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes are reported in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region – Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. Globally more than 371 million people live with the illness, of which 90% of illness originates from type II diabetes.

“We are committed to enhancing the knowledge and improving the healthcare standards amongst members of the society. There are many misconceptions about diabetes and we hope that this campaign will kick-start an important conversation in our community.” stated Dr. Atallah Al-Ruhaily, President of The Saudi Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (SSEM).

“The presence of diabetes adds unique demands that need to be managed, and require a large amount of understanding. We are confident that our involvement in this campaign –control project – will create a difference in the lives of people suffering from type II diabetes,” said Dr. Nabil Naqshabandi, MSD Saudi Arabia Scientific office Manager and External Policy Affairs Director.

“We are committed to raise awareness of the health risks faced by individuals and will continue to support healthcare professionals with the education they need to help diabetic patients in an optimal way.”

The Kingdom itself has seen an explosion in the number of diabetes cases, where the prevalence of diabetes is ranked at 24 percent, highlighting the global epidemic of the illness.

“It is critical for healthcare providers to connect the dots with patients between risk factors and disease development. We have to close the gap if we want to prevent future development of type II diabetes.” Said Dr. Gordon Williams from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Obesity, coupled with increased sedentary lifestyle and lower levels of physical activity are known to be the major reasons for the development and exacerbation of Type II diabetes.

This illness is the world’s fastest growing chronic condition that affects all age groups. Young people up to the age of 30 are affected by an array of physical, social and psychological changes as they mature.

The control project, introduced today by the Saudi Society of Endocrine and Metabolism (SSEM) in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, will focus on ‘training the trainer’ which aims to deliver safe and effective training for people with or at risk of diabetes and other lifestyle related chronic conditions.

Campaign materials provide information for people with diabetes about learning their blood sugar numbers and tips for controlling their disease. The materials also give health care providers information on ways to help patients manage their diabetes.