Recognized as a Center of Excellence and Reference for diabetes mellitus in the GCC region, the Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI) has received numerous international accolades lauding its efforts to tackle the rising number of cases with the disease and to educate people about healthier diets and lifestyles. Among its recent initiatives was the launch of its mobile clinic on World Health Day in collaboration with Zain Telecommunications, designed to help spread awareness of the illness.
Kuwait has the third-highest rates of diabetes in the world. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the 20-79 age group is currently around 20%, while type 1 diabetes among children under 15 has reached a level of 37 cases out of 100,000. By 2040, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) expects one adult with diabetes out of every 10 people, and the World Health Organization now considers diabetes among the diseases that have reached critical levels in some developing nations and needs to be confronted.
Such statistics make the intensive research and development carried out by the DDI even more of a priority. Dr Qais S. Al Duwairi, Director-General of the DDI, explains the institute’s unwavering commitment to quality, state-of-the-art technology and continuous improvement in the healthcare services it provides.
As you have been recently appointed as the new Director-General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute, what is your vision for the institute moving forward?
It gives me great pleasure to be appointed as the Director-General of Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI). I envision DDI to keep focused on its holistic approach of integrating all the different aspects of promoting health awareness, offering educational programs, and providing training opportunities for both healthcare professionals and the public in general. I aspire for DDI to stay keen on spreading awareness throughout the country in order to decrease the prevalence of diabetes in Kuwait. Ensuring the health status of the people is an important task we, at the institute, tackle, and this stems from the mission statement that DDI adheres to:
“To prevent, control and mitigate the impact of diabetes and related conditions in Kuwait through effective programs of research, training, education, and health promotion and thereby improve quality of life in the population.”
I believe that, together, with the staff and our much local and international collaboration, DDI will be placed on the map globally. Our research scientists have succeeded in publishing 105 research publications in renowned international journals and there are 57 publications in the pipeline.
Dasman Diabetes Institute has received global recognition from esteemed international institutions. In 2012, Business Initiative Directions (BID) endorsed Dasman with a gold award in Paris, and recently we have been chosen by the selection committee to receive the International Quality Summit Award (IQS) in the platinum category in 2016 for commitment to quality and excellence.
What contribution has Dasman Diabetes Institute made to Kuwait and the wider world?
Dasman Diabetes Institute has made, and continues to make, several contributions on a regional and global scale. In 2014, the institute received official accreditation and recognition as a Referencing Collaborating Center. This was declared by the Executive Board of the Health Ministers’ Council for Cooperation Council States. DDI is now recognized as a Center of Excellence and Reference for diabetes mellitus in the GCC countries.
In early 2016, DDI was accredited with platinum level with its second award from Accreditation Canada International (ACI), increasing the institute’s credibility.
In addition to receiving these prestigious awards, the institute strongly believes in its mission statement and has taken this as its personal obligation to design in-house and outreach programs to educate the public. Several departments at the institute, such as the Education & Training and Nutrition Departments, have designed several in-house and outreach programs whereby teachers, healthcare professionals, as well as the general public attend lectures and workshops, educating them about diabetes and its related complications. They learn about insulin pumps, managing a healthy diet, and the measures one can take to try and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
DDI is a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates a multi-disciplinary approach, aiming to spread awareness on the diabetes epidemic and its related complications.
What is your personal perspective on Kuwait’s humanitarian contributions around the world? How do you think this relates to Kuwaiti culture and its generosity?
Personally, I think Kuwait is working hard and has demonstrated tremendous efforts with regards to its humanitarian contributions. This was evidently confirmed when His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, was honored by the United Nations for his Humanitarian Leadership in 2014. This was recognized for Kuwait’s generosity and substantial donations to a multitude of countries in need.
At DDI, I believe we exhibit numerous methods that indicate our humanitarian contributions as well. DDI is a research-based institute that tries to find solutions to the rising problem called diabetes. Healthcare research studies are conducted at DDI in attempt to help develop treatment and find new ways of tackling and preventing the diabetes disease.
Since research is a lengthy process that can take several years to produce an outcome, here at the institute we encourage community-based research in order to actively involve the community and directly benefit the people enrolled in the study. Seminars are steered to continuously keep the public up-to-date with the latest discoveries of the management and treatment of diabetes.
Furthermore, DDI offers complimentary healthcare and medical services to the public, including the distribution of medicines and insulin pumps to those in need. I believe this is all reflective on the Kuwaiti culture entirely, as the country may be small in size, but its contributions are ones that potentially save lives.
When seeing the youth and the future generations of Kuwait, what role can they play in the future of Kuwait? How is Dasman Diabetes Institute trying to empower youth?
The youth play a very important role in the development of the country, and the world as a whole. This is why, here at the institute, we make it one of our primary goals to involve the youth in our activities and to aid us in spreading awareness. Training sessions are available to help foster the growth of the younger generations aspiring to become physicians and healthcare professionals. At DDI we offer several training programs. Within our Clinical Skills Center, First Aid and Basic Life Support (BLS) sessions are available and are certified by the American Heart Association. In our research labs and clinics, we offer summer internship programs for school and university students where they learn about scientific research skills and diabetes management. Even younger children visit the institute as part of their field trips to learn about the causes and symptoms of diabetes, the importance of movement, and how to manage a balanced diet. Moving forward, we aim to nurture our future generations by educating and leading them towards a healthier lifestyle.