11% of Egyptian Population Has Type 2 Diabetes

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While the world watches on as Mubarak prepares to address Egypt and the Military plans for leadership, I wonder how this is all going to play out.  Egyptians have grappled with food and medical supply shortages, and security threats, but the intensity of the public’s welfare is worsening. 

Today, New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) made a statement (Reuters) that protesters are being detained and incidences of torture reported. To further complicate public safety, hospital emergency care is nearly non-existent as thousands of striking doctors have joined the protesters (BBC “A key Cairo hospital was reported to have been closed by strike action as an estimated 3,000 staff walked out.”)  There just isn’t any money left in Mubarak’s coffers to pay for the nation’s health care.

Egypt is a country of nearly 83 million (World Bank, World Development Indicators 2009.)  Approximately two thirds of the total population (50 million) have no health insurance and rely on government funding for care in public hospitals.  In December 2009, the funding stopped and patients sent to the hospitals for free care by the Health Ministry were told to go home.  (End of Free Health Care Hits Poor Hardest ). 

It’s no wonder that lack of basic medical care in Egypt is yet another reflection of Mubarak’s domain of corruption, and the unwillingness of the population to tolerate continued economic hardships.

More than 11% of the population of Egypt suffers from diagnosed (type 2) diabetes (the undiagnosed probably account for another percent, if not more.) Not intending to minimize the more serious casualties borne by the anti-government protestors, I read with interest how it has become obvious that Egyptians suffering from diabetes need insulin and other key medicines because they have neglected their care by leaving medicines at home to protest or by now, have run out.  (Egyptian Protesters Vow They Will Remain: ‘We Lost Our Fear’ ) (At Night, Protest Gives Way to Poetry)

The Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) have the highest prevalence of diabetes as a world region, with six MENA countries making the top 10 ranking.  Currently Egypt is number nine.   A recent New York Times report stated “In Egypt, 42 percent of people with diabetes experience early-stage eye disease and 5 percent are legally blind” (12 January 2011 ) This report was filed two weeks before Egypt’s collapse began.

International Diabetes Federation

The New York Times piece also mentioned Former President Bill Clinton’s attendance as a keynote speaker at a MENA Diabetes Leadership Forum last month in Dubai.   The 15th Pan Arab Conference On Diabetes Egypt 2011 is planned for 22 March 2011 in the center of Cairo.  Surprisingly optimistic, conference organizer, Mohamed Ibrahim, is hoping to move ahead with the conference and is “watching [  ] the civil unrest , and for the time being we are planning to conduct the conference in the allocated dates and venue because we already did the required payments for the hotels , invited speakers…..etc.  If there {are} any changes we will keep you posted.”

Mr. Ibrahim ended his emailed note with “God Bless Egypt.” I believe that most people watching Egypt today are praying for its people.