Diabetes awareness survey reveals alarming figures across the Middle East and Northern Africa regions

Novo NordiskIn the lead up to World Diabetes Day 2010 on 14 November Novo Nordisk and Ipsos Emirates Health conducted a survey in ten countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region: Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The survey, which was carried out in October this year, assesses the level of awareness among the general population when it comes to causes, risks and complications of diabetes. It also looks into respondents' risk of developing diabetes. With over 3,000 interviews, the respondents were representative of the demographic and socio-economic profile in each country.

The survey shows that 41% of respondents are at risk of developing diabetes. Despite a high awareness level of the scale of the disease, only one in two respondents consider diabetes to be a severe or a very severe disease. Myths about diabetes also remain very common:

  • 31% of Algerian respondents believe that diabetes is contagious
  • Stress was ranked as a leading cause of diabetes across the region (39%)
  • Half of respondents (52%) declared that stroke cannot be caused by diabetes

"The results of the MENA diabetes awareness survey are striking. The need to further educate the general public about the risk factors, complications and the severity of the condition is very clear. We hope that the initiative will inspire authorities to tackle this issue. We believe that early detection of diabetes, prevention and education can make a real difference," said Lise Kingo, executive vice president and chief of staffs at Novo Nordisk.

Diabetes is sweeping the MENA region affecting an estimated 26.6 million people today, creating overwhelming demands on the region's healthcare systems and huge financial burdens on its governments. As alarming as this picture is, the number of people with diabetes is expected to double to 51.7 million people by 2030.

About Novo Nordisk
Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 87 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. For more information, visit novonordisk.com.

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