An Analysis of Health Policies Designed to Control and Prevent Diabetes in Saudi Arabia

  •  Nouf Sahal Alharbi    
  •  Mohammed Alotaibi    
  •  Simon de Lusignan    


A trend analysis of the prevalence of diabetes in Saudi Arabia revealed a steep increase in diagnosis rates for the disease between the years 1989 and 2009. Between these years, the percentage of the population suffering from diabetes rose from 10.6% to 32.1% of the adult population, and the diagnosis rate is likely to increase in the future. The controlling and prevention of diabetes in the future, therefore, would potentially benefit from a scholarly review of current policies and programmes designed to contain the disease. The current study examines such policies and programmes, specifically those existing in Saudi Arabia and which are currently in operation in 2016. It employs the thematic-content-analysis technique to review key literature, and also uses Walt and Gibson’s policy triangle framework to facilitate the analysis. Searches of PubMed and Medline databases were conducted to locate sources and sources were manually screened by the authors before inclusion in the study. The study concludes that prime obstacles to the successful implementation of diabetes programmes are: insufficient training of practitioners for the treatment of diabetes; lack of remuneration for the work of diabetes educators and no existing evaluation of their outputs; and a lack of training and appropriate modes of qualifying professionally for diabetes educators. The authors recommend that the Saudi government award a greater proportion of resources to programmes designed to treat diabetes sufferers, as well as educational programmes related to disease for the wider public.

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