Smith and Nephew, one of the leading manufacturers of medical devices in the world, is supporting initiatives throughout the region to educate local practitioners on healthcare solutions for conditions related to this disease.
The company recently supported the “First International Diabetic Foot and Lower Extremity Course” from November 9-10 at the Al Murooj Rotana Hotel in Dubai.
Professor Gerrit Mulder, DPM and Professor Daniel K. Lee, DPM—both international authorities on the subject—were the guests of honour. The event focused on theoretical and practical aspects of diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) management. In the Middle East, 50% of diabetic patients develop a wound in their feet during their lifetime and 15% develop chronic ulcers.
Mr. Bryan Ladell from Smith & Nephew commented: “We are supporting a Diabetic Foot Care Initiative in the Mena region in order to educate surgeons, physicians and nursing personnel on advanced treatments and current approaches to diabetic foot lesions.”
The initiative will carry on in 2010, including the continuation of this and similar courses for surgeons, physicians and nurses in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Ultimately, Smith & Nephew hope to encourage local governments to establish specialized diabetic foot care centres in their respective municipalities. In the UAE, care-givers at an average clinic see almost 25 new cases of diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) every month. The UAE spends between $100-200m (approximately Dhs550m) annually on treating diabetes; a number that is likely to increase without serious counter-measures in fighting the disease.
The prevalence of diabetes in the Middle East varies amongst age groups and countries, but averages around 30% region-wide (the global average rests at around 5%). Six of the ten countries with the highest prevalence-figures worldwide are in the Middle East, and the UAE has world’s second highest rate of diabetes. Commenting on the need for healthcare solutions in the Mena region, Catherine Fijten, Product Manager for Smith & Nephew, said: “Given the large incidence and prevalence of Diabetes in the Mena region, we are committed as a company to bringing not only the latest and most advanced treatments to this region, but also to educate the local medical communities on the subject.”
According to the UAE Ministry of Health, heart disease related to diabetes was the biggest killer in the UAE last year, comprising 31% of causes of deaths. The government has responded by committing increased resources to education and treatment campaigns.