IDEA conference encourages excellence in diabetes care internationally
January 2017

Dr. Rayaz Malik speaking at the IDEA conference, which drew doctors from clinics across Qatar and Pakistan.

Dr. Rayaz Malik speaking at the IDEA conference, which drew doctors from clinics across Qatar and Pakistan.

Doctors from clinics across Qatar and the region convened at WCM-Q to hear the most up-to-date advice on the diagnosis and management of diabetes at the International Diabetes Excellence Academy (IDEA).

The two-day conference brought approximately 60 doctors from Pakistan and from within Qatar together for a series of presentations and Q&A sessions on a wide variety of topics related to type-1 and type-2 diabetes, with a focus on imparting practical knowledge that could be applied in the individual clinics to improve patient outcomes. This was the second IDEA conference to be held at WCM-Q.

The event featured a total of 14 sessions comprising presentations and interactive Q&A sessions on topics such as bariatric surgery as a treatment for diabetes, the evidence base and practical use of oral and injectable therapy in diabetes. The role of diet and evidence-based dietary recommendations was also explored, and new technologies to measure continuous glucose and deliver insulin through pumps were reviewed. There was a particular focus on the complications of diabetes, including coronary heart disease and the diagnosis and management of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), retinopathy (eye damage) and nephropathy (kidney damage).

The activity was facilitated by WCM-Q’s Division of Continuing Professional Development and was an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Category 1) as defined by the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners-Accreditation Department and was approved for a maximum of 9 hours.
Dr. Rayaz Malik, professor of medicine at WCM-Q and a senior clinician and researcher at Hamad Medical Corporation co-directed the event with Dr. Abbas Raza of Lahore, Pakistan and Dr. Hamed Farooqi of Dubai, UAE.

Dr. Abbas Raza, right, visited WCM-Q from Lahore, Pakistan to speak at the IDEA event.

Dr. Abbas Raza, right, visited WCM-Q from Lahore, Pakistan to speak at the IDEA event.

Dr. Malik said: “Diabetes is a complex disease that is no longer only either type-1 or type-2 diabetes, but now includes MODY (maturity onset diabetes of the young) and LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes of adults), which have very different treatment options. For example, a young person with diabetes and MODY will respond to oral sulphonylureas and not insulin, whereas someone with LADA will not respond well to tablets, but will need insulin earlier. The aim of the IDEA conference was to provide doctors with a comprehensive update about the latest developments in diabetes diagnosis and management to enable them to provide the very best possible care to their patients.

“This is important in all countries but perhaps particularly so in resource-poor countries where doctors see a large number of patients and may have little spare time to think about the complexity of diabetes and its management.”

Early diagnosis and effective treatment of diabetes is crucial as failure to do so can lead to severe complications. Once complications are present, they need to be carefully managed to prevent worsening of the conditions. For example, failure to manage diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness, while unmanaged neuropathy can lead to foot ulcers and lower limb amputation; unmanaged blood pressure can lead to end stage renal failure and the need for dialysis and transplantation.

Dr. Malik added: “An added difficulty is that patients in resource-poor countries will often not present until they already have complications, especially in rural areas where it is difficult to access healthcare. Therefore, it is important that doctors are equipped with the latest knowledge and diagnostic techniques to be able to diagnose diabetes and recognize complications as early as possible, and to then manage them effectively.

“We are pleased that so many doctors from Qatar and particularly Pakistan attended and gained practical knowledge they can apply in their own clinics for the benefit of their patients.”