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Dr. Hamzah Al Zubaidi, Coordinator of the Improving Health Care Delivery and Medicines Use Research Group at the University of Sharjah, won a Cooperative Research Award from the Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Care

Dr. Hamzah Al Zubaidi, Coordinator of the Improving Health Care Delivery and Medicines Use Research Group at the University of Sharjah, won a Cooperative Research Award from the Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Care Delivery in Dubai for funding a project titled “Implementing a diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk screening program in community pharmacy in the UAE”. The award was in the amount of AED 276,000. Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are major public health challenges in the UAE. From 2017 to 2019, Dr. Al Zubaidi worked with local collaborators and international experts to develop a screening program for diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk in community pharmacies for people over 40 years of age. The program was tested in 12 community pharmacies in Dubai, Sharjah, and Ajman cities. Over a period of 10 months, 568 people were screened in these pharmacies. Thirty-eight percent of those who were screened were found to have high blood sugar levels, and 14.6% had an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. Moreover, 79.2% were overweight or obese. After testing, pharmacists explained the screening results to the participants and advised them of methods to reduce their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, such as healthy lifestyle goals. Participants at high risk (58.6%) were referred to a doctor for further testing and treatment. It is feasible for community pharmacists to screen and refer individuals for diabetes and CVD risks in the UAE. The successful implementation of the screening model in community pharmacy, in terms of identifying at-risk individuals and advising them to visit their physicians for further evaluation, offers a new platform to increase screening capacity within the primary care setting, and represents a key opportunity for the early detection and intervention to tackle the increasing burden of both diseases. Early identification of people at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease allows early intervention through lifestyle changes and/or medications that can delay the onset of, or prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


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