UAE diabetes hub opens for business

UAE doctors and patients alike are set to reap the benefits of a world-class diabetes facility, due to open its doors within the next two months.

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By  Joanne Bladd Published  August 29, 2006

UAE doctors and patients alike are set to reap the benefits of a world-class diabetes facility, due to open its doors within the next two months. The Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), a joint venture between the Imperial College and local company Mubadala Development, has outlined ambitious plans for the region, including launching the UAE’s first regional diabetes database and headlining a nationwide public awareness campaign. Dr Maha Barakat, medical and research director at ICLDC, told Healthcare Middle East: “We are the full spectrum of care. We are both prevention for people who at risk, the first port of call for a newly-diagnosed patient with diabetes, all the way up to tertiary referrals, where we can look after complications once they’ve developed.” Set in Abu Dhabi, the purpose-built centre will offer a range of treatment and research facilities but the focus is firmly on preventive care, Dr Barakat explains. “We are working to try and develop a strategy to help the whole of the UAE. At Imperial College London, we have strong public health expertise, particularly in diabetes. We know that when you target high-risk individuals, you have the best chance of improving outcome.” An element of the Centre’s remit will also focus on reversing early or recent onset type 2 diabetes. “We’ve known for the last 15-20 years that, following bariatric surgery, when patients lose a significant amount of body weight, a significant proportion of them lost their type 2 diabetes,” Dr Barakat said. “Because not many patients have had bariatric surgery, this hasn’t filtered through to clinical practice. In general practice, you don’t think, ‘can we reverse the cause rather than treat the symptoms?’ “It (reversal) requires a total change in the way patients eat and their exercise programme, but if they’re disciplined enough, there is a chance the diabetes can be reversed.” ICLDC also plans to target local doctors, through ongoing training and educational programmes. The Centre is finalising a list of UK speakers, Dr Barakat reports, who will appear at monthly seminars. Entry is free and unlimited, and doctors can apply through the Centre’s website. “We will have one lecture on each of the aspects of diabetes; for example, medical nutrition therapy, the diabetic foot etc.,” Dr Barakat said. “If doctors could spare the time to attend these lectures, it would raise awareness of the developments in each sub-speciality.”

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