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Israeli university launches $75m program to combat diabetes

i24NEWS

3 min read
Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz leads a faction meeting at the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, Israel, on November 15, 2021.
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz leads a faction meeting at the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, Israel, on November 15, 2021.

The initiative is the most ambitious, non-governmental attempt to fight diabetes

An Israeli university launched a 10-year, $75 million program to fight diabetes in Israel’s northern Galilee region, where residents are especially susceptible to the disease.

The initiative - launched by Bar-Ilan University - is the most ambitious, non-governmental attempt to fight diabetes, The Times of Israel (ToI) reported.

Announced on Tuesday, the project will open a new medical facility and support local governments to combat the disease by encouraging healthy lifestyles and providing health services.

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Having already acquired a $20m grant, Bar-Ilan University will continue to raise more funds in efforts to manage existing diabetic patients and limit the number of new cases.

The initiative “will address one of the most difficult health problems in the north,” Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said in a speech at the project’s inauguration.

Dr. Sivan Spitzer, deputy director of the recently announced SPHERE medical center, said that the facility will spark “a major boost to Israel’s efforts against diabetes,” ToI reported.

The center will focus on providing healthy food and health education in schools, building exercise facilities in areas with high rates of diabetes, and increasing healthcare services with a mobile medical unit.

Around one million Israeli citizens of the country’s 9.2 million are expected to be diabetic by 2040.

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Cases are particularly common in regions of a lower socio-economic profile, as well as in Arab communities, according to ToI.

Both are characteristic of communities in the Galilee, where residents are three times more likely to develop the disease than in other areas in Israel.

Prof. Naim Shehadeh, the head endocrinologist of the project, noted that it will also include research towards improving treatments as well as developing cures.