x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Diabetics to get reminders of their regimen

Dedicated call centre hopes to prevent diabetics from relapsing into unhealthy habits.

DUBAI // Diabetics will start receiving reminders from a dedicated call centre to ensure that they are following their regimen, health experts announced yesterday.

The service is being launched by the Dubai Diabetes Centre in collaboration with Green Crescent insurance and Sanofi Aventis. The project will first run as a six-month pilot with 600 patients.

Dr M Hamed Farooqi, the director and consultant endocrinologist at the Dubai Diabetes Centre, said the aim was to prevent diabetics relapsing into unhealthy habits.

"As human beings, we have a tendency to go back to our old habits very quickly," he said. "So this will work as a constant reminder. Patients will receive a series of phone calls and text messages between healthcare visits to make sure that they are taking their medication properly, following their diet, and exercising."

Dr Farooqi was talking at the sidelines of an awareness event at Al Wasl Sports Club, where hundreds of students were being educated about the disease.

The calls will be made by healthcare professionals, and will be tailored to patients' individual conditions, Dr Farooqi said.

"Glucose levels will be monitored throughout the entire period," said Dr George Morcos, general manager of Sanofi Aventis in the Gulf countries and Yemen.

"We will make sure that the call centre is meeting international standards in the manner they are treating patients."

The Green Crescent clinic has been making similar calls to its patients for nearly a year, and seen significant improvement in its patients as a result.

"By taking these preventative measures, you avoid serious complications," said Dr Saif Al Jaibeji, medical director at Green Crescent. "So in addition to protecting the patient's health, you are saving time and money."

If the pilot is successful, it will be extended to more patients.

Such an initiative is particularly important when general practitioners treat nearly 95 per cent of diabetics, Dr Farooqi said.

"These doctors have multiple responsibilities and don't have the time to follow-up with each patient," he said.

"We will eventually develop this into a two-way calling system, where patients can also call in and ask questions.

"We would like to make every effort to reach out to all members of the community that this disease is affecting, including those who may not have access to specialized treatment."