Diabetes continues to be a major public health concern in Qatar with over 239,000 reported cases in 2015, according to a senior academic at Qatar University (QU).
Prof Marwan Abu Hijleh, head of the Basic Medical Sciences Department at QU’s College of Medicine (CMED), made the observation while speaking on a student project on diabetes.
Eight students from QU medical, human nutrition and biomedical sciences programmes collaborated to jointly develop a proposal with the aim of proposing ways to halt the rise of diabetes in Qatar.
The students - Omar Sherif Moustafa, Shahrier Rafiq, Menatalla Abdelkader, Soubiya Ansari and Bassant Hussein Okab from the CMED and Tamara Mirza, Asma Jamil and Tayyiba Akbara Alshrif from the College of Health Sciences (CHS) - presented their project to a panel of judges at the “Beat Diabetes” event, which was organised earlier this month in recognition of World Health Organisation’s “World Health Day”.
The students’ proposal approached the problem of diabetes from three important angles - nutrition, lifestyle and medicine - using a range of tools to help halt the rapid rise of type 2 diabetes in Qatar, including public awareness, legislation, retail policies and school policies, among others.
The judging panel included Prof Abu Hijleh and Prof Ala-Eddin al-Moustafa from CMED. From CHS, the panelists included Dr Hiba Bawadi, associate professor of nutrition, and Dr Nasser Rizk, professor of physiology and endocrinology.
In his remarks, Prof Abu Hijleh said: “I was impressed by the presentations of both groups of students as well as their intelligent interaction with the panel’s feedback, questions and comments. Diabetes is a major public health concern in Qatar with over 239,000 reported cases in 2015; 415mn people have diabetes in the world and more than 35.4mn people in the Mena region. According to the International Diabetes Federation, by 2040 this figure will rise to 72.1mn.
“This is why it is important that all nations engage in a productive dialogue with schools, legislators and health policy organisations to address this threat, including the participation of higher education institutions like Qatar University.”
Student Tayyiba Akbara Alshrif added: “We had the opportunity to interact with experts in the field and to collaborate with students from other healthcare programmes, which contributed to reinforcing our knowledge and skills.”
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