One of the ambitious projects of Dubai We Learn initiative is Dubai Health Authority project “Prevention better than Cure”. The aim of the project is to develop & start implementing a Dubai Diabetes prevention framework based on worldwide best practices within one year; to reduce the Pre-Diabetic population from 356,460 adults in 2017 by at least 10% by 2021. The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) revealed the results of the trial phase for the Happiness Prescribing Program during its participation in the UAE Innovation Month 2018.
The Happiness Prescribing Program was launched by the authority with the aim of identifying and implementing prevention programs among pre-diabetics and persons with high risk factors by not only prescribing medication, but also prescribing nutritional and physical programs.
Dr Hanan Obaid, Consultant Family Physician and Head of Acute and Chronic Diseases said this program is a pioneering model of community health care for the prevention of diabetes in the Emirate of Dubai. She said that adopting a new approach that does not depend on prescriptions, but goes beyond that to be an integrated behavioral, social and psychological treatment in line with the vision of the UAE and the Dubai plan 2021 and the Dubai Health Authority strategy on Prevention & Healthy lifestyles, and participation in the Dubai Government Excellence Program “Dubai We Learn”.
The six-month trail phase, which was implemented at Al Barsha and Nad Alhamar Health Centers with the participation of Dubai Ladies Club, Bel Remaitha Club for Men and Sharjah University was conducted on 43 participants of women 25 and men 18.
Dr Obaid said the specialist doctor offered them a comprehensive health survey and conducted the necessary tests then followed by the nutrition and health education, in addition to the various sports classes and sessions, which were provided for the participants by Dubai Ladies Club, Bel Remaitha Club. Moreover, The University of Sharjah has reviewed and approved this new methodology for the prevention of diabetes.
“The results found that participants achieved good rates of weight loss ranging from 7 to 11 kg during the past six months, in addition to the risk reduction of diabetes during the next 10 year as follow: 13% risk reduction from severe to intermediate risk & 7% risk reduction from intermediate to low risk in women group. It also has 7% risk reduction from high to moderate risk in men group adding that participants expressed their happiness and satisfaction with this program as diabetes has a negative impact on individuals and society as well as the health sector due to the increase in expenditure for treatment of the disease and its complications,” she said.
The World International Diabetes Federation (IDF) found that the average expenditure on diabetics in the UAE is estimated at 9.8 billion dirhams annually, and the percentage of diabetic patients in UAE about 17.3% in 2017, which is considered a high percentage compared to other countries. In the Emirate of Dubai, the percentage of people with diabetes was about 15.2% and the percentage of people at risk was 15.8% according to the results of the 2017 Dubai Diabetes Household Survey.
“The goal of this program is to reduce the incidence of new cases of diabetes in the society of Dubai among the high risk groups who have risk factors such as: overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity, unhealthy food, and family history of diabetes, stress and smoking,” she said.
The happiness-prescribing program is now electronically connected with the DHA Hayati Application, which will include the evaluation of diabetes at risk and determine the possibility of exposure to diabetes during the next ten years. It will then link it to a new services called Lifestyle clinics, which will be an Innovative solution to prevent diabetes by having a network of a multidisciplinary team (including a doctor, dietitian, health education specialist, and sports clubs).
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