Dr Qais Al-Duwairi

KUWAIT: When Dr Qais Saleh Al-Duwairi joined Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI) as its’ Director-General- a premier diabetes research center located in Kuwait -he brought the much-needed perspective to diabetes management through his multifaceted approach. In 2016, Kuwait was struggling with the ever-increasing cases of diabetes, with minimal research being conducted on improving diabetes prevention and management.

This is where the former Assistant Under-Secretary of Technical Affairs at the Ministry of Health, Dr Qais Al-Duwairi took charge and introduced strategies that prioritized diabetes research. Owing to his relentless efforts, novel methodologies could be brought to life in the field of diabetes research.

Dr Qais Saleh Al-Duwairi, born in April 4, 1957, holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree from Cairo University and a Master’s in Hospital Management from Leeds University. His extensive medical experience brought a different approach to diabetes treatment, one that utilized medical, scientific and operational disciplines to prevent and treat diabetes and its related conditions. With this multi-dimensional approach to diabetes management, he has been successfully leading a team of top-class medical researchers at DDI; thus, enhancing diabetes care at the institute.

Commenting on DDI’s strategic partnerships, Dr Qais said, “We collaborate with national and international institutions to implement projects and programs in Kuwait. With a total of 75 ongoing research projects and 77 publications in 2019, we continue to focus on improving diabetes prevention and management. We strive to encourage scientists and healthcare professionals to be more innovative and achieve research excellence. Our Patent Office has filed six patents in 2019, where we aim to protect and encourage more innovation in diabetes research.

Dr Qais brought an up to date perspective to diabetes research by shedding light upon the role of ‘genes’ in the development of diabetes and helped in eradicating numerous misconceptions related to it. He continued by detailing one of their latest research findings, stating that “We recently found a stretch of genes, specific to the Kuwaiti population, that makes them susceptible to metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes.

Our researchers analyzed 662,750 genetic variations in 583 Kuwaitis and were able to identify a haplotype, TNKS, in the Kuwaiti population that was linked to metabolic disorders and high blood pressure. Of course, further studies will be conducted to understand how we can use this information in disease diagnosis, management and prevention in the region.”

He further added, “In collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Kuwait, we have established a National Diabetes Registry. This database includes type 1, type 2 and other forms of diabetes from different age groups. Our GeoHealth Lab started its project in collaboration with George Institute of Global Health. Their team visited Adailiyah Cooperative Society to try the FoodSwitch App that helps consumers to make better food choices.”

If not for Dr Qais, the technological advancements and timely access to updated information and standards in Kuwait, would not have been possible. Under his headship, DDI has been able to establish and continue various skills-oriented programs including Kuwait Obesity Academy (in collaboration with World Obesity Federation), DAFNE program – an interactive educational course specifically for Type-1 diabetes patients, and Remission study program with Glasgow University to aid patients diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes.

Through DDI, he ensures that the latest information is shared amongst medical practitioners, researchers and the general public. As per Dr Qais, “DDI also hosts internal lectures, guest lectures and Post-Doc presentations to promote knowledge transfer. With a total of 40 lectures and workshops from national and international guests, our healthcare and science professionals can share thought processes and other contextual methods.”

Dasman Diabetes Institute’s (DDI) has recently collaborated with Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) to sequence the genome of coronavirus under the headship of Dr Duwairi, further reinforcing the global fight against COVID-19 by the means of mindful research.

Dr Duwairi’s achievements have helped combat the diabetes menace in Kuwait to a greater extent. Under his leadership, DDI is taking numerous ingenious initiatives for early detection of diabetes and its prevention; thus, encouraging a healthy and safe society that is ready to defeat diabetes in the coming times.