Qatar pilot project addresses diabetes
A project of the World Innovation Summit for Health, backed by the Qatar Foundation, a smart clinic project allows Qatar nationals to come in for risk-based screenings as a preventative resource for lowering rates of untreated diabetes among the population.
So far, the clinic has had about 1500 people tested, with several dozen identified as pre-diabetic.
“The uniqueness of the Smart Clinic, once a person is identified as pre-diabetic we can do a lot about prevention,” Dr. Mariam Abdulmalik, managing director at Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), said at a press conference on the project, as quoted in a Nov. 29 press release. “The Smart Clinic helped us to set the scene in Accountable Care and enhance the patient/doctor relationship, it gives the opportunity for more satisfaction. This project has helped us to provide more coordinated, comprehensive, integrated primary and secondary care for patients.”
How widespread is this smart clinic model around the world?
“The concept of smart clinics is not new,” Jim Reeb, director of the Social Enterprise Institute at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, told Gulf News Journal Friday. “It's how you apply the concept that’s important.”
For example, Reeb cited a local program funded by a group called the Trucking Wellness Foundation, a 501(c)(3). The project, called the Trucking Wellness Group, is aimed at serving the truck drivers who work on America's nationwide interstate system delivering goods around the country.
“The purpose is to promote occupational health management for truck drivers, wherever they may be,” Reeb said. “We’re really focusing on occupational health.”
Other projects, he said, apply that model in different ways, depending on what local populations need. Health experts worldwide agree that combating diabetes is a major challenge.
“We’ve seen the number of patients with type 2 diabetes (which accounts for more than 90 percent of the cases of diabetes) rapidly increase in both developed and developing countries,” Dr. Martin Abrahamson said in a 2013 Clinton Foundation article entitled “Addressing the Diabetes Pandemic.”
Global groups like the International Diabetes Federation are working to help governments make progress on diabetes treatment and prevention.
“The first WHO Global report on diabetes demonstrates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults,” according to a 2016 report from the World Health Organization. “This dramatic rise is largely due to the rise in type 2 diabetes and factors driving it include overweight and obesity. In 2012 alone, diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths. Its complications can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. The new report calls upon governments to ensure that people are able to make healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes. It encourages us all as individuals to eat healthily, be physically active and avoid excessive weight gain.”
Hopefully, efforts like the smart clinic program in Qatar can change some of these outcomes and shield more people around the world from the effects of diabetes.