Since opening in May 2016, the Qatar Metabolic Institute (QMI) has cared for over 7,800 patients with diabetes and obesity-related illnesses.
Professor Abdul Badi Abou Samra, Chairman of both the QMI and Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Department of Internal Medicine, said the Institute was established to foster collaboration on clinical, education, and research efforts related to improving the health of those affected by diabetes, obesity, and metabolic disorders. He said patients have been referred to the Institute from across HMC’s network of hospitals as well as from various primary healthcare centers and private hospitals and clinics. Noting that patients have ranged in age from 11 to 77, Professor Abou Samra said around 72 percent of the patients treated at QMI are female.
“The Institute has four sections, the Pre- and Post-operative Department, which includes ten clinics per week, the Nutrition Department, the Physiotherapy Department, which has four clinics per week for each section, and the Weight Control Department, with 15 clinics per week. Our Weight Control Department sees the highest number of patients, with around 49 percent of patients who are treated at QMI being cared for by the team working in our Weight Control Department,” said Professor Abou Samra.
He noted that since being established, QMI has become a focal point for the country’s scientific research and medical investigation into metabolic diseases. He said today QMI is well known as a platform for collaboration on education, research programs, and knowledge sharing, related to understanding and preventing metabolic diseases in Qatar.
Professor Abou Samra said efforts are currently underway to implement Qatar’s National Diabetes Strategy 2016-2022, which he said aims to prioritize Qatar’s response to diabetes and its complications and to reduce the impact of diabetes in the community. He said a number of objectives within the Strategy also focus on evaluating current approaches to diabetes services and care and the improved coordination of healthcare resources across the health sector.
He noted that the opening of the National Obesity Treatment Center last year has been an important milestone in supporting many of the Strategy’s objectives. The National Obesity Treatment Center, which sits under the QMI banner, reinforces HMC’s, and Qatar’s, commitment to providing effective and compassionate care for the prevention of weight-related diseases. Professor Abou Samra said this is especially important in Qatar, due to the high prevalence of metabolic complications resulting from obesity and diabetes.
“Obesity, a major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, is being treated at the National Obesity Treatment Center through our bariatric and weight management service. We are caring for those who have the highest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and related conditions,” said Professor Abou Samra.
He said all weight loss programs offered at the National Obesity Treatment Center emphasize lifestyle modifications, highlighting adjustments to the types and quantities of foods consumed and the incorporation of physical activity goals. He added that staff at the National Obesity Treatment Center work with patients to help them set and reach weight loss goals.
With more than 70 percent of the population considered overweight or obese, Dr. Buthaina Ibrahim Alowinati, a Senior Consultant at the National Diabetes Center, said HMC is providing an essential service in offering effective and compassionate care for the prevention of weight-related diseases.
“Since weight-related diseases are so common amongst our population, we need to focus on those with the highest risk of metabolic complications. The National Obesity Treatment Center and Qatar Metabolic Institute have contributed to the development of therapeutic pathways that are helping patients to effectively manage and control diabetes and obesity and the disease’s risk factors and complications,” said Dr. Alowinati.
She added that the National Obesity Treatment Center is also working to increase public awareness of the risks of lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity. According to Dr. Alowinati, a modest weight loss of ten percent can result in major health benefits for obese people. She said patients who are part of the weight loss programs offered at the National Obesity Treatment Center undergo a comprehensive medical assessment. She noted that most patients remain in the program for six months, with around 70 percent achieving a ten percent weight loss.
Dr. Alowinati noted that the National Obesity Treatment Center is currently working on a number of obesity-related research studies. She noted that the results will be published once the studies are completed.