By Fazeena Saleem
DOHA: Over 2,000 people are on the waiting list at the newly opened National Centre for Diabetes Treatment, with appointments fully booked for the next six months.
This long waiting list has been created due to the high prevalence of diabetics in this country and many of them do not have access to experts, said Senior Consultant of Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Hamad General Hospital, Prof Abdul Badi Abou Samra, who is also Chairman at the Department of Medicine.
Due to this high demand Al Wakra Hospital will next year have a centre for diabetes care replicating the new national centre. Later it will be expanded to other hospitals of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Prof. Abou Samra said yesterday.
“There are a large number of diabetes patients in this country. And those patients do not have access to specialised doctors. If you look at our waiting list today, you will find more than 2,000 patients waiting for consultations. We need to rapidly spread this around so we can absorb more patients,” said Prof Abou Samra speaking to journalists about the new National Centre for Diabetes Treatment.
Among Qataris about 17 percent of adults have type 2 diabetes and about one-third of those are not aware of it. Most diabetes patients die from heart attacks and from strokes because they ignore the disease. In fact, diabetes is classified as one of the highest risk factors for heart attacks.
“You will find one-third of the patients with diabetes do not know about it and they develop complications gradually. And they discover the disease when they go blind, have an infection on a toe, gangrene, or when they have kidney problem or kidney failures, or when they have their first heart attack or stroke,” said Prof Abou Samra.
The ‘one-stop shop’ centre situated at the Hamad General Hospital provides a wide range of services required by patients with diabetes including foot care, blood investigation and insulin pump therapy and also patients can speak with specialist doctors and nutrition experts and learn on how to manage their condition.
“This concept now is spreading all over the world, to have a comprehensive diabetes management centre. This is the first time we have such centre. Because we now have a model we can duplicate and replicate it. Also it’s very important for the professionals because it’s so easy to link them together. It makes them work together centred on the patients’ needs,” said Prof Abou Samra.
The new diabetes centre will also train young professionals as educators, dieticians and new diabetologists. A physician after completing four years of training in internal medicine will be trained in endocrinology and diabetes.
“They will be trained at outpatient clinics and in-patient, as well as in the new diabetes centre to become multi-disciplinary professionals,” said Prof Abou Samra.