Qatar’s annual cost for diabetes care could rise from QR1.8bn in 2015 to QR5bn in 2035 and QR8.4bn by 2055, if no immediate action is taken to combat the problem, according to a report presented at the International Diabetes Leadership Forum.
The net present cost for treating diabetes over the next 40 years is estimated at QR130bn. The report also points out that if current behaviour and practices remain the same, there could be a significant increase in the burden of the disease in the coming decades.
If nothing is done to fight the problem, the number of people suffering from diabetes in Qatar could go up from 200,000 in 2015 to 299,000 in 2035 and 368,000 by 2055. Similarly, the number of people suffering from complications due to diabetes is 48,000 presently and could rise to 124,000 in 2035 and 182,000 by 2055.
The two day forum was opened in the presence of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al- Kuwari, a number of ministers as well as several leading international experts on diabetes from different parts of the world.
Speaking at the opening session, HE al-Kuwari stated that diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in the world and Qatar has not been spared from this trend.
“Indeed, one in six (17%) of the Qatari adult population suffers from diabetes. Today as a health system, we spend an estimate of QR1.8bn on treating diabetes and its complications in Qatar.”
“An estimated 50% of all dialysis provided in Qatar is due to diabetes, half of acute coronary disease is associated with diabetes and close to 70% of all stroke patients have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Our projections show that without any change, the number of people suffering with diabetes is likely to double in the next 40 years,” highlighted the minister.
The minister also called for collective efforts to fight diabetes. “Tackling diabetes is not – and cannot be – a challenge for doctors, nurses and health officials alone: it’s all of our collective responsibility. Our greatest challenge – and our biggest opportunity – is to work together to transform the way we address preventing the disease in the first place.”
According to the minister, Qatar’s National Diabetes Strategy 2016-2022 offers a real opportunity to focus the attention on one of the most important health challenges for Qatar.
“We all know that lifestyle changes can have a massive impact on diabetes - regular exercise, a balanced diet and stopping smoking are just a few of the steps people can take to significantly reduce their chances of getting the disease,” she added.
The two-day forum is discussing the most prominent health challenges of diabetes and means of combating them with a broad participation of internationally recognised experts. It aims to highlight the size of the problem in tackling diabetes and the urgent need to reduce its prevalence in Qatar.
Several keynote speeches, case studies and workshops run by leading international experts, the forum will promote dialogue and ideas exchange, to help develop practical recommendations for the implementation of the country's National Diabetes Strategy.
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