Living with Diabetes in Qatar

While in Qatar, Abdullrazaq – – a diabetic – allowed me to cover his story.  During the days we spent with him, I realized that his family supports him in his struggle to live a normal life despite his illness.  He is confident that his condition will improve once he has surgery.  He hopes that his condition stabilizes soon so he’ll be able to get his new kidney, provided a perfect match is found.

Undergoing Dialysis

Please visit this link for a photo essay and sideshow on diabetes.


Qatar: Sweet Epidemic

Counting calories is not on anyone’s mind when visiting fast food chains in Doha, the capital city of the State of Qatar. But it’s now a necessity as young people are becoming “addicted” to quick meals, according to one of the leading newspapers in the country, the Peninsula. Now the Government is implementing rules and regulations to force restaurants to disclose to consumers the calorie count in every meal.

This initiative is part of a plan to reduce the onset of diabetes across the nation. Many Qataris, regardless of age, are developing diabetes at an alarming rate. But the disease is not new to Qatar. Abdullrazaq was diagnosed with diabetes when he was only 25 years old.

Abdullrazaq at Home

Experts say the reasons vary – unhealthy diets of fast food and sugar-filled desserts, sedentary lifestyles and hereditary genes.

Abdullrazaq is not sure how he acquired diabetes but he told UN TV multimedia producer, Mary Ferreira, that he lost both of his parents to diabetes. His mother passed away only a few weeks ago.

Now at age, 51, the disease is claiming several parts of Abdullrazaq’s body, including vital organs. His days are filled with doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, and insulin injections.

He is currently receiving dialysis treatment three times each week at Hamad General Hospital in downtown, Doha. The hospital boasts more than 200 dialysis stations and in 2009, the hospital performed some 60,000 dialysis sessions.

Abdullrazaq’s family is supporting him fully as he struggles to move around his home to complete routine daily activities. According to medical experts, the only solution for Abdullrazaq is a kidney transplant when an exact match is found.

In the meantime, the campaign against fast food addiction will test the nation’s commitment to healthy eating. Before any success is reached workers at eateries need to be aware of the impact of fried food on consumers’ health, says the Peninsula.

In May 2009, the United Nations adopted a resolution to fight non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer around the world.  UNTV will produce a video on this issue within the next few months.  Keep checking this site for the release date.

Nodding Disease Peeks Curiosity

Uganda is facing a crisis as children stricken with nodding disease die at an early age. Nodding disease or nodding syndrome is a new, little-known disease which emerged in Sudan in the 1980’s according to Wikipedia.

Photo by Gizmodo

Now more cases are showing up in Uganda baffling health officials in the country.  The deadly disease causes seizures and often leads to impaired physical and mental development in children.  In some cases, blindness occurs.  In northern Uganda some 3,000 children are affected.  Efforts made by the Ministry of Health for additional funding to treat patients who linger, waiting for medical assistance failed to pass in the House of Parliament.  Instead, the Minister of Finance instructed colleagues in the Ministry of Health to slash their budget to deal with the dilemma.  Talks continue.

As a Television Producer I’m always on the look out for compelling stories to cover and this one is in development for my next mission to the continent of Africa.