Endocrinologist and diabetician at Mubarak Hospital and Chairman of the Kuwait Diabetes Society Dr Waleed Al-Dhahi said Kuwait is among the countries with a high percentage of diabetics. He added the percentage of cases is up to 15 percent of the population or 425,000 diabetics, with around 200,000 more who haven’t been diagnosed yet.
Dhahi was speaking during a press conference as Kuwait Diabetes Society marked World Diabetes Day in cooperation with Novo Nordisk. Dhahi said many look at diabetes as a “friend”, but this is a false idea because diabetes is an aggressive enemy that must be fought. He said the state must fight it before individuals do so. It must have a major role in confronting it and should have general programs to support diabetics during various stages of the disease. This should be through spending on major awareness campaigns to educate and warn people about the disease.
Dhahi said the Arab world has 39 million diabetics, and this number will double within 15 to 20 years. He advised those who want to prevent diabetes to carry out periodical examinations, especially as those who have the risk of getting diabetes are physically inactive and suffer from blood pressure.
Endocrinologist and KDS Secretary Dr Khalid Al-Jinae said heredity plays a major role in contracting diabetes, as well as obesity, which has high rates in the country. He said prevention includes maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity and early discovery.
Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk General Manager Dr Akin Aksekili said the company has changed the lives of diabetics since its establishment 95 years ago and now supplies half of the insulin needs of the world. “We are a company that touches people’s lives, and this is why we are partnering with KDS to help people and support KDS efforts. We are also screening people, like at The Avenues, where we screened 1,350 people for diabetes, and will continue to do this,” he told Kuwait Times. He added a walkathon will also be held.
Responding a question from on how to help people who cannot afford treatment, he said Novo Nordisk is in contact with the Kuwaiti government on discounts for medicine given to the government to reflect positively on patients, “because we cannot go directly to the patients”. “We would also like to train diabetics through KDS,” he added.
“We are taking a different approach with oral insulin. It is a pill that the patient ingests, which will release insulin through the stomach instead of using needles,” said Aksekili. He said research is still going on with stem cells, promising “good news” on the company’s 100th anniversary in 2023.