On the frontline

Diabetes prevalence in the UAE is ranked second highest in the world after the tiny Pacific island of Nauru. This is closely followed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. Forecasts by the International Diabetes Federation do not look good with the number of people with diabetes in the region expected to double by 2025. The repercussions are many, not least the heavy economic burden on individuals, families, governments and the private sector. Primary care doctors are in many cases the frontline of defence against the disease. We speak to a leading expert in the field to find out what they should be doing to alleviate this staggeringly high and rising prevalence (Page 36).

The new International Health Regulations came into force in June this year. This is the first revision of the dreadfully outdated regulations since 1969. The new regulations give the WHO new powers to deal with global public health risks which have been emerging at around one new threat a year for the past 20 years. However, there are a number of criticisms that have been levelled at the regulations, namely that it protects wealthy countries at the expense of the poor ones (Page 48).

Tropical diseases and tuberculosis account for more than 10% of the global disease burden, yet only 1% of new drugs approved between 1975 and 1999 have been specifically developed for these diseases due to drugs R&D being in the grip of a handful of monopolies. We report on the growing demand for a new, more equitable international policy framework and propose ‘an Essential Health R&D Treaty’ (Page 56).

Also in this issue you’ll find broad medical news coverage, product reviews and interviews.

Brian Wilkie

(Nov-Dec 2007)



                                                                        Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved.