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Thousands walk to fight diabetes.

MUSCAT: Thousands responded to the global call for action against diabetes by joining in the walkathon in Muscat to drum up awareness that everyone should 'Beat Diabetes' and live a healthy life.

People of different ages and nationalities turned up early in the morning in front of Centrepoint, Ruwi, starting point of the walkathon, yesterday. Supported by the Ministry of Health, the Landmark Group organised the walkathon for the first time in Muscat to spread awareness on diabetes.

Dr Jawad bin Ahmed Al Lawati, director, prevention of non-communicable diseases department, Ministry of Health, launched the walkathon along with Clive Freeman, territory head - Landmark Group.

'Beat Diabetes' campaign is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative introduced by the Landmark Group to raise understanding and awareness about diabetes amongst people.

Working alongside partners that are specialists in this field, Landmark Group aims to maximise the awareness about diabetes and inspire people to adopt a lifestyle which protects them from this chronic condition.

Ekta Chowdhry, Miss India Universe 2009; Saleh Al Jabri, captain of Jewel of Muscat; Hiba Al Rahbi from Royal Cavalry, Nizar Al Shanfari, rally driver; and Sara Al Balushi, rising tennis star of Oman, were some of the celebrity participants who participated in the walkathon and pledged their support for spreading awareness of diabetes.

"I am confident that this campaign will grow much larger in the coming year as we plan to make 'Beat Diabetes Walkathon' an annual event in Oman's calendar," Freeman said.

The walkathon was held to mark World Diabetes Day, observed worldwide on November 14, to commemorate the birthday of Fredrick Banting, who is credited with the discovery of insulin.

A good number of business leaders and top government functionaries also took take part in the walkathon.

At the walkathon, a free blood sugar test was also organised.

In 2009, the group launched the 'Beat Diabetes' initiative in the UAE, citing the wide prevalence of this condition, across the region.

It was for the first time the group is organising the walkathon in Muscat.

Last year, the group had organised similar walkathons in the UAE.

In 2011, the campaign will also move to other countries where Landmark Group has a presence.

Alarming rate

Two nationwide surveys 10 years apart (1991 and 2000) have shown that the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in Oman is increasing.

The national diabetes survey done in 1991 showed the prevalence of diabetes to be 8.3 per cent and in 2000, the figure inclined to 11.6 per cent. More recent unpublished data is projecting that in this last decade, diabetes affecting adults is still on the rise.

One of the major challenges with diabetes as with many other chronic diseases is that the diagnosis of the problem is delayed.

At least one survey was showing that around 67 per cent of studied adult population and diagnosed with diabetes were knowing of the problem for the first time.

By the year 2009, the national diabetes registry in Oman registered 61,583 citizens with diabetes. Statistically speaking, this is only 50 per cent of the total people affected with diabetes.

One of the Ministry of Health pioneer initiatives to overcome the problem was the introduction of the screening programme since 2007.

Apart from early detection of diabetes and subsequently early initiation of treatment, the programme aims also at discovering individuals with high risk of getting diabetes or those with pre-diabetes and initiate intervention to prevent or delay the occurrence of diabetes.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2009

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Nov 13, 2010
Words:592
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