Complex Made Simple

HMC’s National Diabetes Centers improving access to specialized care

Diabetes is a complex condition which can lead to debilitating long-term complications and acute illness.

The National Diabetes Centers at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) are offering a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, providing patients with improved access to specialized treatment and offering a range of diabetes-related services.

“The vision for the National Diabetes Centers is a patient-centered facility that offers diabetes treatment through an interdisciplinary team approach. With Centers located at both Hamad General Hospital (HGH) and Al Wakra Hospital (AWH), these facilities serve as one-stop shops in which patients can speak with specialist doctors and nutrition experts, understand their disease status, adjust medications and treatment plans as appropriate, and learn how to manage their condition,” said Professor Abdul-Badi Abou-Samra, Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at HMC.

The diabetes management teams, which include multidisciplinary healthcare professionals, offer a range of specialist services, including foot care, counseling and education, blood investigation and insulin pump therapy. The National Diabetes Center at HGH was opened in 2013 and sees about 2,000 adult and 700 pediatric patient visits each month. The new diabetes center at AWH, which was inaugurated in December 2014, receives approximately 400 patient visits per month.

Professor Abou-Samra said the facility at AWH has improved overall patient waiting times at HMC, reducing the waitlist for diabetes care at Hamad General Hospital and in turn improving patient outcomes and satisfaction levels. He added that the National Diabetes Centers are an integral part of the newly launched Supreme Council of Health National Diabetes Strategy, which aims to connect all health providers in Qatar as part of efforts to further develop health services delivered to diabetes patients.

“We’ve brought together highly-specialized services in one location, providing patients with the tools they need to manage their disease from the onset. The opening of the National Diabetes Center at AWH is particularly noteworthy in that it has significantly increased HMC’s capacity to provide specialized diabetic care to our population. Our colleagues at the Primary Health Care Corporation now have a second location to refer patients who require diabetic care, further easing the pressure on services at HGH and improving our ability to provide the best possible care,” said Professor Abou-Samra.

Diabetes is a complex condition which can lead to debilitating long-term complications and acute illness. The disease has reached epidemic proportion in Qatar with about 17 percent of the Qatari adult population thought to have diabetes. About 11 percent of the population is estimated to be pre-diabetic and it is anticipated that as many as a third of diabetics are not aware they have the disease. According to Professor Abou-Samra, considerable effort is made to treat diabetes proactively by educating patients, and the public, on the importance of healthy living as a crucial part of diabetes management.

“Helping patients learn how to make the right lifestyle choices is central to our diabetes care plan. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and is critical to managing the disease. Being overweight and engaging in unhealthy habits, such as smoking, make it difficult to manage the disease and increase the risk for high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are common risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death among people with diabetes,” added Professor Abou-Samra.

Last year HMC launched an awareness campaign designed to increase public understanding of diabetes and to empower residents to take control over their health. The 18-month campaign, which concludes this month, aims to highlight risk factors of the disease, raise awareness of associated signs and symptoms, and provide strategies to manage and prevent diabetes and lifestyle-related conditions.