The United Arab Emirates population continues to grow rapidly with a large portion of the population consisting of expatriates of multi-ethnicities from around the world. Only 19 percent of the population is estimated to be Emirati, while 50 percent are estimated to be from Southeast Asia (30 percent of these are from India). 2010 UAE health data estimates that 20 percent of expatriates and 25 percent of Emiratis in the UAE have diabetes, and 75 percent do not have good control of their diabetes. The financial burden of this diabetes epidemic cost the country and its citizens and expatriates $657 million in 2010 with a forecast of increase to $1.04 billion by 2020.

In 2016 Project HOPE partnered with AstraZeneca to implement the Diabetes Empowerment and Education Program (DEEP).  The program aims to improve the well-being of people in the United Arab Emirates living with or at risk of developing diabetes by

  • Decreasing adverse outcomes of diabetes patients during Ramadan
  • Improving patient diabetes self-management
  • Increasing access to prevention services

The program centers around developing culturally competent educational materials for patients and healthcare professionals, including specific materials for Ramadan, and training healthcare professionals to provide effective messaging to their patients from diverse ethnic groups.

The program is privileged to receive the support of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Emirates Diabetes Society, and the Dubai Health Authority.


In 2014 Project HOPE was commissioned by AstraZeneca to undertake an assessment to look at gaps in care for people living with diabetes, with a specific focus on diabetes prevention and self-management education tools.

Based on the information gathered findings include the patients are challenged to modify lifestyle and adhere to physician counselling due to barriers, there is a lack of culturally appropriate education tools, different ethnic groups require tailored interventions, the spectrum of care varies greatly from provider to provider and more patient support is needed before and during the period of Ramadan.

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