By Safura Rahimi
The 2011 World Diabetes Congress will address the Middle East's mounting health crisis.
Diabetes awareness in the region is set to move forward after Dubai yesterday won a bid to host the 21st World Diabetes Congress in 2011.
The event - organised by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) - will be one of the largest international congresses ever held in the UAE, with 12,000 delegates and 500 invited speakers set to participate.
The move is significant for the UAE as it has one of the highest diabetes rates in the world. Around 19.5% of the population suffer from the disease, a figure that is second only to the Pacific Island of Nauru.
Other Gulf countries have similarly high rates, with a 16.7% prevalence in Saudi Arabia, followed by Bahrain (15.2%), and Kuwait (14.4%), according to the 3rd edition of the International Diabetes Federation's Diabetes Atlas.
The congress - which will bring many of the world's leading experts to the country - will aim to increase awareness and promote national polices for the prevention, care and treatment of diabetes.
The bid to host the congress was led by Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS), Dubai Convention Bureau, and Dubai Healthcare City, part of Tatweer.
"Tackling diabetes is a strategic priority for DoHMS and the presence of the World Diabetes Congress in Dubai will offer an essential opportunity to provide local medical practitioners with access to the latest thinking and research," said Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, director general of DoHMS.
"Experts agree that co-ordinated action between healthcare organisations is essential if we are to stem the rising tide of diabetes. The successful co-operation that has brought this congress to Dubai is an excellent example of how, working together, we can achieve major results," said Dr Muhadditha al Hashimi CEO of Dubai Healthcare City.
More than 246 million people in the world live with the disease, a figure that is expected to rise to 380 million by 2025.