Discussion among participants revealed numerous broader themes around approaches to corporate wellness programs and the type of leadership necessary for motivating behavior change that employers can implement to stem the diabetes crisis in the UAE. Over the course of the exercise, participants found the highest value in prioritizing three types of programs: disease management measures, fitness and nutrition programs offered by employers, and cash incentives.
Most participants consistently chose to support a comprehensive disease management program that would provide automatic prescription refills, waiver of medical co-pays and weekly meetings with an on-site wellness coach. They prioritized nutrition and fitness programs, wanting to provide literature on healthy eating habits and company-sponsored memberships to an on-location gym, given that the company had sufficient resources to carry out these initiatives.
Participants also expressed a strong interest in implementing cash incentive programs to promote healthy practices, but discussed that such incentives would not be culturally appropriate for every workplace, and that additional strategizing needs to occur regarding what constitutes sensitive yet effective methods of instigating behavioral change. Finally, participants suggested that in order to create a sense of public urgency about the diabetes crisis, multiple sectors across the healthcare provider, patient and payer (often private business) spectrum would need to collaborate to identify solutions. Such engagement across all sectors of society, coupled with culturally-sensitive methods, will create immediate, sustainable impact.
Highlighting the event’s success, Don Pressley, Regional Managing Director for Booz Allen Hamilton Middle East, said, “Increasingly, leaders are realizing that, in an era of growing complexity, old ways of approaching problems are no longer successful. Today, business leaders from all over the Emirates demonstrated unique insight and strong motivation to fight our number one public health priority – the Diabetes crisis. Given our unique position in Abu Dhabi, we are eager as a firm to support future collaboration between sectors on mutually-important goals such as anti-diabetes initiatives.”