Access to diabetes treatments is access to a better life

I have been busy these days so I’m sorry for being a bit behind on my posts. There is some IBD news that I will share with you but first I wanted to highlight this article that I saw on BI-ME.

Business Intelligence Middle East – bi-me.com – Despite high diabetes prevalence, critical treatments remain inaccessible in Gulf – News, analysis, reports.

Considering the ridiculous rates of diabetes in the Middle East, I felt that the topic of accessibility to proper treatments and medicines was one worth discussing. According to the article ‘there are 6.5 million residents of the GCC suffering with diabetes’. This is a huge number when you consider that there is no cure for the disease and that it is a very burdensome, chronic condition that these people will have to live with, monitor and manage every day of their life.

As new treatments are being developed, tested and put into use around the world, the governing powers whose responsibility it is to make these treatments accessible in this region, need to be prepared for the high demand of the increasingly self-educated diabetes sufferers looking for the most innovative treatment options. Doctors and their institutions also need to push for more education and adequate prescription processes in order to manage the situation. If the lives of 6.5 million people in the GCC are dictated by their diabetes, how accessible these treatments are will have a direct correlation to the growth of an increasingly dangerous gray market which is subject to exploitation of illegal counterfeits. Those living with diabetes will also be more prone to self medicating practices that could make a bad problem exponentially worse.

If you have a story or comment, share it. Debating the issue will likely point to potential solutions.

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Disrupting Diabetes

The model of Disruption

The model of Disruption

I’ve been asked by a large Dubai school to present and conduct a sort of creativity seminar for their older students.  As part of a creative agency, TBWA, we practice a motto of ‘disruption’, which is a way to break brands out of the ordinary and turn them extraordinary. Sometimes this can be very difficult when we are asked to create advertisements for bland or boring subjects. But it is through Disruption that pet food, in the case of Pedigree, became a call sign for ‘the love of dogs’, creative outdoor, print and tv campaigns as well as great events. Examples of some ads can be found here.

Because people often tell me that it is hard to be Inspired by Diabetes (as mentioned in a previous post) I thought why not bring the concept of Disruption to diabetes. This way, kids can learn about the disease, be given tools to tap their creativity and put the two together to make art that will be entered into the competition. The purpose for me is to engage older kids and get them to submit art in a variety of media so that I can share it with the world.

If anyone has any ideas how to get students excited, please let me know. Any brainstorming techniques, cool diabetes visuals, examples of diabetes art, it would be a big help.

Inspired by Diabetes at Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai

This week, Inspired by Diabetes in the UAE is partnering with Ibn Battuta Mall’s Unite for Diabetes awareness week. Come by and spend some time getting your blood sugars checked, enjoy some fun activities and learn about the disease that is affecting 1 out of every 5 people in the country.

Visit us at the Inspired by Diabetes art area and use our supplies to make your diabetes-inspired creation. You will have the chance to enter it into the competition even before the official launch.

The event continues from 3pm until the mall closes from the 10-15. Bring your friends.

http://www.ibnbattutamall.com/

Inspired by Diabetes Winners

Below are the biographies of the winners from each of the three Middle East countries. Congratulations to all the winners.

Lebanon

First Place – Children’s Category 

Miss N.H., Age 9, Lebanon

N.H. won in the children’s category with her self-portrait photograph depicting her holding a red rose and an insulin needle.

As someone living with diabetes at a young age and who recognizes the possibility that she will always have the disease, N.H. entered the ‘Inspired by Diabetes’ competition to show that her life is no different than an average girl.

“I wanted to inform people that diabetes is a disease people can live with and that they can still have a normal life, live and play like everyone else,” she says. “I participated in this competition to prove to people that diabetics are as normal as others.”

Through her artwork, N.H. demonstrates that with the use of insulin as a treatment, diabetics can enjoy life just like anyone else.  

Second Place – Children’s Category

Miss G. I., age 12, Lebanon

G.I. painted her picture after learning about diabetes on the internet.  The painting, entitled “Diabetes: your worst enemy – insulin: your best friend” depicts a diabetic injecting insulin in their stomach.

With the help of her parents, G.I. learned that, while diabetes can sometimes be passed down through a person’s genes, the more common type (Type II diabetes) is most often caused by a poor lifestyle.

“Through my art, I wanted to tell diabetics that no matter how sick they are, they should take their insulin and persevere so that they can keep the disease in check and eventually get better,” she says.

First Place – Health Care Professionals

Mr. Tarek El Saleh, Dallaa Hospital

Currently working in Dalaa Hospital as a nurse in the Emergency Room, Tarek finished his nursing degree before traveling to Australia where he researched Type I diabetes. His submission to the contest was a picture of a puzzle, which he says, “is an example of how you can miss something that is important without knowing. Sometimes you can overlook the simple solutions to larger problems but really they are easy to fix.

Having diabetes in his family, Tarek felt compelled to share his knowledge through the contest as he works closely with diabetic patients and hopes he can help raise awareness about the disease.

“In my opinion to solve a problem, we must first know that we have this problem, so education for diabetic patients must be one of our priorities as health care professionals. From my experience in the nursing field I faced a lot of patients who stopped taking their medication without telling their doctors,” he says. “They need people to help treat them as well as educate them.”

Second Place – Health Care Professionals

Mona Nasrallah, AUB Medical Center

Mona was ‘inspired’ to submit to the contest after a former patient, who had lost a leg and was nearly blind from her diabetes, contacted her wanting to deliver a scarf she had knitted.

Knowing how this former patient suffered from diabetes as well as financial problems, Mona was reminded about why she had gone into medicine in the first place.

“Needless to say, I was touched and grateful, firstly for reminding me not to get tangled in the details of everyday medical care, which of course is a necessity, but should not make me lose sight of why I am here. And secondly for showing me that no matter which state the patient is in, I should never underestimate their ability to give,” she explains.

“I was inspired by my patient and decided to share her gift in this contest.”

Egypt  

First Place – Children’s Category – Under 9 years old

Abdel Rahim M

An honour student at his school,  Abdel Ramih loves to play and watch football. He submitted an entry to Inspired by Diabetes as one of his family members has diabetes. “I came up with the idea for my drawing because there were always needles around my house,” he says. “The title ‘Insulin leads children to a safe haven’ made sense because it is true in my house.”

Second Place – Children’s Category – Under 9 years old

Mohamed Y.

Youssef is 4 ½ years old He loves reciting Quran and religious anthems as well as drawing with the help of his older sister. “I love my family and am always excited to explore new things,” he explains. “But I really love computers and could spend hours playing around.” 

First Place – Children’s Category – Over 9 years old

May A.

May, is 12 years old, lives closely with diabetes in her family.. She worked on the srawing with her sister. They both have a real passion for drawing and love spending free time drawing pictures of weddings and other nice scenes.

“Our passion for drawing was our main motivation to participate in the contest,” they said.  “The drawing is mainly inspired by the medical education we received in an education camp we attended.”  For May, diabetes is very easy to control and manage. “All it takes is to know how to manage diabetes and what to do to control it,” she explains. “It is also very important to get regular check ups and blood sugar testing“

Second Place – Children’s Category – Over 9 years old

Amina M.

Amina is a top student in her class.. She loves the sea and uses it as inspiration for her paintings. She really loves sports and long walks.

Her submission to Inspired by Diabetes shows all the ways to manage diabetes, including abiding by the nutrition pyramid, exercising, abiding by doses and measures, foot care and to not over eat.    

UAE

First Place – Children’s Category – Under 9 years old

Fahd and Hamdan  

Fahd, is a 9 year-old who has diabetes in his family. He loves to play football and enjoys drawing. He worked with his classmate Hamdan on a drawing to encourage people to play sports. “I think playing sports is the best way to prevent diabetes,” he says. “Although playing football needs a lot of effort, I encourage everyone to do so as it keeps them fit and happy.”         

Second Place – Children’s Category – Under 9 years old

Maitha

Maitha submitted an entry to Inspired by Diabetes as one of her family members has diabetes and she loves to support diabetics. She has a real passion for drawing and enjoys spending free time drawing pictures.

“I love my family and my dad keeps on alerting me about taking care of my health,” She says. “I play with my friends to protect them and myself from diabetes.” 

First Place – Children’s Category – Over 9 years old

Hadeel, Aseel, and Zainab

Twin sisters Hadeel and Aseel worked together with their friend and classmate Zainab to submit an entry to the Inspired by Diabetes competition. “Our passion for drawing was our main motivation to participate in the contest,” they said.  

They enjoy drawing and are fans of the popular Arabic cartoon ‘Freej’. The drawing shows the four main characters in the cartoon talking about diabetes in a funny and entertaining way. “Since my elder sister is studying nursing, I always hear a lot about diabetes and ways of prevention,” Said Hadeel. “I love drawing and my parents always encourage me to practice drawing and participate in different competitions,” added Aseel. 

Second Place – Children’s Category – Over 9 years old

Mohamed

Mohamed, born in 1997, loves the challenge and enjoys drawing. He participates in all different kinds of competitions especially health related ones. 

His submission to Inspired by Diabetes pictures diabetes as a devil that appears to people who lead inactive lifestyles.

“I like using art as a way to express my thoughts and feelings,” he says. 

First Place – Adults Category

Asma

Asma, a talented student, loves photography and graphic design. She enjoys reading and finds it as a way to enhance her creativity. She participated in this competition to share her work with others and to tell people that diabetes is a preventable disease.

“I participated in this competition to support diabetics and warn others from this disease,” she says. “I encourage such competitions because they raise awareness about diabetes in a very creative and entertaining way.”

Second Place – Adults Category

Henna

Henna is a mother of two who loves to dance despite being born with a genetic hearing impairment. She is a designer and her submission to Inspired by Diabetes demonstrates her talent and knowledge of the disease. “We only have one life,” she says. “Life’s beautiful and it is better to think positive and live in happiness.”

Such is reflected in her submission to the contest. Described by Henna, “you can see the sufferer in blue getting support from others (red). The hearts themselves also represent kidneys.”

Art that inspires healthier lives

Inspired by Diabetes, the unique art contest that challenges people to creatively express the ways that diabetes affects their lives, recently held the award ceremonies for winners in Lebanon and Egypt. Young artists shared their work and were presented with exciting prizes at the events, which also hosted important dignitaries ranging from health ministers to popular artists.  Below are some pictures from the events.

The UAE winners will be attending their award ceremony on June 5 at the popular art gallery, Jam Jar. There will also be a special guest appearance by the popular band ABRI who will play at the event. If you are interested in attending please send me an email at inspiredbydiabetes-me@tbwaraad.com.

And the winner is…

Ok well we don’t know yet, but the judging has been successfully completed in Egypt and Lebanon and will take place in the UAE this Thursday. We are glad to inform you that the Inspired by Diabetes Middle East contest received a total of 10 submissions from Lebanon, 150 from Egypt and 120 from the UAE.

Here is a list of our fantastic judges:

Egypt:  ·        Mrs Nahed Hamza, Deputy Chief Editor, Al Akhbar·        Mr Nabil Shawky, Artist

·        Representatives from the Ministry of Health

Lebanon:

·        Members of the Lebanese Diabetes Society

·        Members of the Lebanese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Lipids

UAE:

·        Members of local musicians, ABRI

·        Saeed Shalash, Editor, Zahrat Al Khaleej magazine

·        Rachael Brown, Jam Jar

 Stay tuned as I will announce winners here probably before the official site does. 🙂

A monster let loose in the Middle East to treat diabetics

Gila Monster

Ok well it isn’t a monster, but a new treatment derived from the venom of a Gila Monster, a large poisonous lizard, is now available in the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait. It is really quite interesting because the treatment, Byetta, has been available in the West for a long time now and it has already received rave reviews from people suffering from Type 2 diabetes.  It has only been released just recently in this region, which is a blessing given the high rates we’re seeing.

Byetta (Exenatide), mimics a hormone in the body that promotes the production of insulin and helps regulate blood sugars. It does so without the usual highs and lows you get from insulin. There is also a real benefit of weight-loss associated with Byetta, which is great because Type-2 diabetes go hand in hand. Here is an article from Gulf News on Byetta.

Artificial venom aids fight against diabetes in UAE

02/20/2008 01:12 AM | By Dina El Shammaa, Staff ReporterAbu Dhabi: A lizard’s venom helped to give birth to a new Type 2 diabetes drug, which is now available in the UAE.

The drug, Exenatide (Byetta), is an artificial version of the venom found in the Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum).

The saliva of the two-feet long pink and black lizard, native to the US, contains a chemical exendin-4, similar to a human hormone to help regulate blood sugar.

Byetta has proven effective in the control of Type 2 diabetes in humans.

Scientists from drug companies Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals worked together to develop Exenatide, an artificial version of exendin-4 that can be injected into patients and stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin in response to raised blood sugar. It also influences digestion and appetite.

A significant effect of the drug is weight loss, which is a major benefit for Type 2 diabetes patients, who are often overweight.

It helps with glucose (blood sugar) management in several ways: It signals the pancreas to create additional insulin when glucose levels are too high; it regulates the liver so that it doesn’t produce unneeded glucose; and helps slow the rate of sugar entering the bloodstream.

According to Dr Eisa Al Mansouri, Director of the Drug Control Department, Ministry of Health, the combination of blood sugar regulation and weight loss give Byetta an additional punch in the battle against diabetes.

“Our aim is to make available the best treatments for patients in the UAE. We give high importance to all that relates to the diabetes field, as we know that diabetes is one of the major conditions threatening our community. Byetta is a new class of treatment for diabetes. We are one of the first countries in the Middle East to make Byetta available,” said Al Mansouri

Byetta has been available in the US since 2005. It is now offered in more than 23 countries and used by more than 700,000 diabetes patients worldwide.