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Sunday , January 16 2022

Thousands of UAE children not receiving proper care

GluCare Integrated Diabetes Center estimates 75% of cases poorly controlled

More than 24,000 children living in the UAE are currently living with Type 1 Diabetes, which is a chronic auto immune condition, requiring insulin for survival, and for which there is no cure. The youngest diagnosed patient was recorded at just two years old, and the current healthcare system is designed purely for managing the condition at a very basic level, as opposed to minimising the long-term damage to vital bodily functions to help these children live a healthy and normal life. Although it can be diagnosed at any age, it usually appears during childhood or adolescence and typically, peaks in diagnoses are between children aged four to seven years and 10 to 14 years old.

Approximately 75% of all Diabetes cases in the UAE are considered poorly controlled, which can lead to life-changing complications such as nerve damage, heart and blood vessel disease, as well as damage to the kidneys, eyes and feet. In an already stressful time for parents with newly diagnosed children, additional challenges presented by sub-standard medical care adds more distress to many families. The American Diabetes Association states that most healthcare facilities lack the entire support required to effectively manage the condition, including nurse educators, dieticians and paediatric endocrinologists.

To add to this, most health insurance companies do not pay for critical services such as nurse educators, dieticians or medical devices needed to provide a good way of life for juvenile Type 1 Diabetics. Commenting on the current approach to Type 1 healthcare in the region, Ali Hashemi, GluCare Co-Founder and Chairman said; “The approach to Type 1 care, here and in many parts of the world, is fundamentally flawed, and is leading to many complications for patients that could easily be avoided. Diabetics are currently offered blood tests every three months to assess their control of the condition. The results then indicate changes that need to be made to their diet and insulin ratios, and then are checked again three months later. The time between visits is essentially a “black hole” because healthcare providers have no way to collect data or manage patients remotely, usually resulting in very little improvement in their blood glucose levels and making it almost impossible to improve their management.

Hashemi continues; “We offer our patients 24/7 care and monitoring, so we are able to make changes with them daily! We track their glucose, insulin, and nutrition in real-time and are able to guide them continuously, including supporting them in their lifestyle choices and their mental health. Diabetes is not just a condition that impacts you physically, it is hugely stressful mentally, especially in children and their parents. We are able to work with them to create real time solutions, each day, which means they can live happier, healthier lives, without living in constant fear of dangerous future complications.” Selina Jorinde, a parent who has experienced first-hand the Type 1 Diabetes medical provision at GluCare for her 10-year-old daughter, said: “With Type 1 Diabetes there’s no break, even if you have a good day, you know a bad day might follow, this is why I always say it’s like tightrope walking, and this is what parents and kids are having to deal with on a 24/7 basis.

Before joining GluCare I was taking my daughter back to our hospital in Amsterdam every three to four months as we couldn’t find the same level of care in Dubai. However, with the Coronavirus pandemic and all the restrictions, we couldn’t do that anymore and they urged us to find a good hospital in Dubai. After some bad experiences with other hospitals, I didn’t believe that a reliable place existed for Type 1 Diabetic kids, but we really landed in good hands with GluCare. The technology and support they offer is fantastic, especially in comparison to other places in Dubai. It’s great to have the support of the doctors and the whole team through the app.” GluCare is calling for a country-wide increase in awareness for the signs of Type 1 Diabetes in children, as many schools and even hospitals don’t know how to spot the symptoms. This leads to a delay in diagnosis and ultimately results in children being admitted into intensive care, which could be stopped if people know how to spot the signs. Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes in children include:

■ Increased thirst

■ Fatigue

■ Unintentional and dramatic weight loss

■ Frequent urination

■ Changes in behaviour Parents who notice these symptoms in their children are advised to see a doctor as soon as possible.

These parents, along with parents with a diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic child, are encouraged to call GluCare Integrated Diabetes Centre to book a consultation on +971 (0)4 220 1570 or visit the clinic on Al Wasl Road.

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