With the aim of assisting Qatari authorities in reducing the incidence of Diabetes Qatari delegates believe that Qatar should become the first country in the Gulf region to join the DAWN initiative.

In the Maersk Oil funded trip, the Action on Diabetes delegation participated in the 5th international DAWN (Diabetes Attitudes Wishes and Needs) summit in Holland on 7th – 8th  April 2014.

The DAWN study, a global Novo Nordisk initiative is a long-term commitment with the aim of inspiring new, sustainable ways to enable the millions of people with diabetes around the world to live full, healthy lives and be actively involved in managing their own health and quality of life. It is the largest ever global study to explore the unmet needs of people with diabetes.

Action on Diabetes, a public – private partnership set up in Qatar by Maersk Oil Qatar, Qatari health authorities and Novo Nordisk; has pledged support for the DAWN study to be brought to Qatar to provide more vital insights to help prevent diabetes and continue to improve care and quality of life for patients in Qatar.

Diabetes remains one of Qatar’s largest health issues, with over 16.7 % of adult Qataris being diagnosed already. 6% of Qataris have abnormally high sugar levels and are likely to develop diabetes, unless lifestyle modifications are made. If the diabetes challenge is not addressed and lifestyles not modified, as many as a quarter of all Qataris may have diabetes by 2030 according to the International Diabetes Federation. With the proportion of people with diabetes in Qatar is amongst the highest in the world, helping to prevent, detect and manage diabetes has become a National priority.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamaq, Director of Qatar Diabetes Association, said:

Even though the pace of growth and change in Qatar is so dramatic, unfortunately the awareness about diabetes amongst Qataris and expatriates remains low. Specific research on diabetes in Qatar is needed to understand how we can improve our efforts, and establish better comprehensive education programmes for healthcare professionals and patients. It is vital that we introduce the DAWN study to Qatar.  By participating in the DAWN study, we will get greater insight into the challenges faced by people living with diabetes in Qatar and the people helping them, and explore new avenues for improving care.

Whilst it is widely known that diabetes has a number of physical effects, the psychosocial impact of the condition is often overlooked. Recent research from the global Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs 2 study (DAWN2™) identified that the psychosocial aspects of management of diabetes impacts diabetes patients and their families. The study found that one in five people with diabetes feel discriminated against because of their condition, and support from the broader community is scarce. Evidence also suggests that even with the best modern therapies and care, the experience of discrimination can influence self-management, quality of life as well as clinical outcomes for people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

Dr Badria Ali Al- Malki, Pubic Health Specialist, at the Supreme Council of Health said:

Psychosocial issues often go ignored in helping to treat diabetes patients, so participating in this study will provide us with the knowledge to create appropriate support networks for those who suffer, often in silence, from diabetes. We need to bring together a range of stakeholders in the diabetes debate to ensure that we strengthen the voice of people with diabetes and their families locally and globally and improve treatment pathways. We will only achieve this by working with organisations such as Action on Diabetes and DAWN.

Manal Musallam, Senior Patient Educator/ Adult Diabetes at Hamad Medical Corporation said:

DAWN is an important initiative and I welcome it being introduced to Qatar.  There is great potential for Qatar to gain vital insight by joining the DAWN study. The insight gained from participating in the DAWN study will provide us with useful tools and best practices that we can implement in our current Qatar care model to help provide our people with the best care possible and create a healthy vision for Qatar and our people’s future.

Hosted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) and the Steno Diabetes Center and with support from Novo Nordisk, the DAWN™ Summit brought together over 200 leading experts, policymakers, researchers, clinicians and patient advocates from more than 30 countries to discuss policies, strategies, tools and best practices for improvement of the lives of people with diabetes. For more information on the DAWN study click here.