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Collective Action Required to Address Economic Impact of Unmanaged Diabetes in UAE

Dubai, : One of the most pertinent effects of the global epidemic, besides the devastating health consequences for people with unmanaged diabetes, is its economic impact. Patients diagnosed with diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures that are approximately 2.3 times higher than healthy individuals. According to a recent report by Booz Allen Hamilton, the increased cost of diabetes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) associated with demand for specialized services will increasingly and disproportionately impact the government’s healthcare expenditure over the next 10-15 years.

This issue will be debated at the Middle East Diabetes Conference taking place for the first time during the Arab Health Exhibition & Congress from 28-29 January 2013 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

According to Dr. Maha Barakat, Medical & Research Director of the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), , and speaker at the Middle East Diabetes Conference, “ICLDC believes that a solution must first be found to understand why the problem of diabetes exists within the UAE, secondly the existing problem must be tackled in terms of world-leading treatment to prevent and manage complications, and thirdly to prevent diabetes from developing in the first place in individuals who are at high risk. Unfortunately the solution cannot be provided by one small clinic, a group of community practices, or the endocrine department of a particular hospital; the numbers of patients are simply too great.”

Dr. Barakat will also be reviewing the latest Diabetes guidelines as published by the American Diabetes Association (2013 Consensus Statement), as well as the (Global Guideline for Type 2 Diabetes 2012), and Global Guideline for Management of Post Meal Glucose in Diabetes 2012. The UAE ranks tenth worldwide for the prevalence of diabetes per capita of the adult population; recent figures from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) suggest that 19.2 per cent of the UAE adult population is living with diabetes, half of whom are unaware that they have it.

According to the Oct 2012 report by Booz Allen Hamilton titled “Exploring the Growing Challenge of Diabetes Across the GCC and Within the United Arab Emirates”, the burden of diabetes is straining the UAE’s financial resources and incurring societal costs. The analysis found that in 2011, the total cost of diabetes in the UAE (including healthcare costs and both mortality- and disability-related opportunity costs) was nearly $6.6 billion (AED 24 billion) or 1.8 percent of GDP, higher than in any other GCC country.

Direct diabetes treatment constitutes approximately 40 percent of the nation’s overall healthcare expenditure. The estimated annual costs attributed to diabetes in the UAE are forecast to increase to as much as $1.04 billion (AED 3.82 billion) by 2020, representing a 58percent increase from an estimated $657 million (AED 2.41 billion) in 2010.

Grant McLaughlin, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton highlighted that, “Unless action is taken immediately, even larger numbers of people in the UAE will continue to be impacted by diabetes. It is vital that the private sector, which is greatly impacted by the costs of providing insurance and of lost employee productivity, play a critical role within the country to take collective action across society to address this growing public health issue.”

Established 38 years ago, the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress provides a platform for the world’s leading manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors to meet the medical and scientific community in the Middle East and beyond. Arab Health, organized by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, takes place from 28-31 January 2013 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. With more than 3500 exhibiting companies from 32 countries,  and 18 CME accredited medical conferences, Arab Health is a much anticipated addition to the 2013 medical event calendar in the Middle East region.

For more information about the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress, please visit or call +971 4 407 2743.

About Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions:

For more information, please visit

About ICLDC Abu Dhabi:

For more information, please visit

For media enquiries please contact:

Inga Stevens

Senior Communication Manager

Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions

T: +971 4 407 2743

F: +971 4 336 4021

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