Diabetes counselling helpline proves popular, highlights challenges in Qatar

August 10, 2011

A helpline set up by the Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA) to help diabetic patients fasting Ramadan is proving popular, but challenges remain strong.

“The phone-based emergency service was launched a week ago and has gained popularity among diabetic patients,” Amal Adam, QDA’s medical coordinator, said.

“I receive almost 100 calls per day, but most of them are made after Iftar, the breaking of the day hours fast,” she said, quoted by Qatar Tribune.

The hotlines include two mobile numbers and a landline to assist callers in the morning and the evening up to 1am. However, patients usually expect a quick response to their questions.

“We first ask them the details of their medical history and then respond to their queries. We also tell them to check their sugar levels and call back again,” Amal said.

“It is a challenge to convince patients to break the fast when they are suffering from either low or high blood sugar levels. Some patients call with blood sugar levels below 70 or 80 and it is as early as 8.30am.

“Others call with high blood sugar levels of over 400Mg/dl. I try to convince them to break their fast immediately. If the patients, suffering from low or high blood sugar levels, do not break the fast, it can lead to diabetes ketoacidosis or state of comatose condition,” she said.

Qatar, like the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, has a high diabetes incidence rate and local experts have warned about the alarming percentage of children below the age of five years suffering from the disease.

QDA last week said that it would soon start a survey to determine the percentage of its incidence in the different segments of the society. It will also be used to implement treatment decisions and to zero in on the best methods to create awareness and help control its incidence.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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