International Experts Advance Diabetes Management Strategies to Support a Safer and Healthier Ramadan

International Experts Advance Diabetes Management Strategies to Support a Safer and Healthier Ramadan


South Africa, Durban: June 1, 2016: The Diabetes & Ramadan International Alliance in partnership with International Diabetes Federations launched the ‘New Guidelines on Diabetes Management during Ramadan’ at a conference in Durban, with support from Sanofi’s educational grant. These guidelines are a result of the combined expertise and efforts of international experts from multiple countries such as the USA, UK, France, Turkey, Sudan, Egypt, South Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, KSA, Kuwait, UAE, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia to combine their voluntary efforts in creation of the Diabetes Management Guidelines.

The launch conference brought forth key challenges associated with diabetes management during the holy month of Ramadan, while raising awareness on the need for minimizing health risks through increased education and guidance. The congress included participation from various healthcare professionals and religious leaders. Over two days they deliberated upon several key topics, including the latest new research in diabetes and Ramadan, epidemiology of diabetes and Ramadan, the physiology of fasting, risk stratification, nutrition advice, medication adjustment and the implementation of recommendations.

South Africa has an estimated 8.27% prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus type 2 with approximately 2.6 million patients with diabetes, diagnosed or undiagnosed. Most cases are type 2, developing over time. Diabetes results in over 83,000 deaths each year and 78,900 years lost due to disability, which measures the equivalent loss of life due to ill-health, particularly blindness and amputations.


The highest prevalence of diabetes is among the Indian population in South Africa 11% - 13% among Indians. This is followed 8 – 10% in coloured community, 5 – 8% among blacks and 4% among whites.


Many people with diabetes are keen to fast during Ramadan. The key is to empower them, and enable them to take decisions based on the recommendations that are harmonized between religious and medical authorities. Educating patients on the potential risks associated with fasting or feasting during Ramadan is imperative. The key is to empower patients, and enable them to take decisions based on the recommendations that are harmonized between religious and medical authorities.


“In South Africa, the Diabetes Educator Society of South Africa (DESSA) is endorsing the new guidelines to ensure maximum uptake amongst the healthcare community and people living with the condition. We hope that the comprehensive content presented in the IDF-DAR Practical Guidelines will greatly enhance knowledge surrounding the issue of diabetes and Ramadan fasting, thereby empowering HCPs to give the most up-to-date advice and the best possible support to their patients, says Dr Mohamed Hassanein, Chair of Diabetes and Ramadan International Alliance


The updated guidelines are based on learnings from previous years, offering improved management strategies and newer evidence based medicine to help people fast with minimal risk. They will ensure effective communication with, and, education of all those involved, including patients, Health Care Practitioners, religious leaders, and the wider community. High emphasis has been laid on the importance of individualization within a diabetes management plan. For instance, the Ramadan Nutrition Plan (RNP) aims to provide HCPs with information to help them individualize nutrition for people with diabetes during Ramadan.



“As Sanofi we are committed to helping patients with diabetes treat this complex illness. We work tirelessly to make a difference to people’s lives every day by transforming scientific innovations into therapeutic solutions for patients by offering them innovative, integrated and customized solutions. Effective management of diabetes requires a partnership between the person with diabetes and health professionals, poorly managed diabetes leads to serious complications and early death. Our responsibility as a company is to directly answer patient needs and help make life easier for people with diabetes” says Trevor McCoy, Sanofi: Diabetes Business Head


Experts emphasized that the decision to fast with diabetes must be taken while maintaining a balance between the guidelines for religious exemptions and assessment of the risks involved in consultation with health care providers. Following a highly individualized management plan and close follow-up is essential to avoid development of complications. People who wish to partake in fasting during Ramadan must therefore collaborate with their physician to undertake the fast as safely as possible during this holy month.

“In the guidelines, we have classified the condition of patients under three main categories, namely, Red, Amber or Green based on the type of diabetes and its severity. If the patient’s condition is classified as red or amber, then it represents a higher level of complications if he or she decides to fast. However, if the patient’s case is moderate-green, then he or she needs to evaluate the medical advice versus the physical ability and experience of fasting”, said Prof Omar

“Diabetes requires life-long treatment and the know how in managing the condition with lifestyle changes as well as appropriate use of medicine. We are honored to be a part of this milestone development led by DAR and IDF, towards introducing new and effective measures to ensure a safe and healthy Ramadan. Sanofi’s commitment goes beyond medication; it is based on understanding and listening to patients to provide integrated health solutions and personalized treatment”, concludes Trevor McCoy


The guidelines and material will be available online on the IDF and DAR websites.

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