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Program launched to help protect diabetics during pandemic

Diabetics are at particular risk of complications if they contract COVID-19.
Diabetics are at particular risk of complications if they contract COVID-19.

Faculty from WCM-Q have helped launch an outreach program that is designed to ensure people with diabetes stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative was developed by the National Diabetes Strategy Committee at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Qatar Metabolic Institute (QMI), and the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), to ensure that people with diabetes continue to manage their condition with the appropriate medication and diet, but also that they adhere to the correct pandemic protocols to minimize their risk of contracting the virus.

Dr. Shahrad Taheri, professor of medicine at WCM-Q and chairperson of National Diabetes Committee Research Sub-committee, has been one of the individuals on the taskforce responsible for the delivery of the outreach program.

Dr. Taheri said that the Ministry of Public Health and other associated bodies had wanted to be pro-active in managing and protecting people with diabetes, who face a greater risk from COVID-19 if they contract the virus.

The program has been named ‘COVID-19 and Diabetes’ and provides guidance for those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Virtual clinics have been established so that patients have access to care management teams with doctors providing online consultations. High risk patients – those with multiple risk factors - are being identified and contacted so they can have a timely remote consultation.

Dr. Taheri said: “The risks to people with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are much greater if they contract COVID-19, so the Ministry of Public Health and medical professionals have taken the decision to be pro-active in contacting patients and ensuring their conditions are being managed correctly. It is not just a case of ensuring that their blood sugar levels are being managed correctly through insulin, but also that associated conditions like cholesterol and hypertension are also being cared for so to minimize potential complications if they contract COVID-19.

“This program is one of the first nationwide programs to ensure the safety of patients with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic and is an example of colleagues working successfully together across primary and secondary care.

“Of course, the first defence against COVID-19 is prevention, and we continue to urge everyone to stay at home wherever possible and maintain good hygiene.”

More information about diabetes and COVID-19 can be found at HMC’s webpage