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Bahrain project to combat child diabetes

Manama, June 27, 2011

Schools, neighbourhoods and clubs across Bahrain will be targeted by a nationwide campaign that aims to combat diabetes among children.

The BD45,000 ($119,400) project is being spearheaded and funded by the Rotary Club of Manama in collaboration with the Bahrain Diabetes Society (BDS).

The Counselling of Children with Diabetes in Bahrain project includes designing, equipping and staffing a mobile unit to travel around schools, villages and clubs to educate children and their parents about diabetes prevention and control.

A memorandum of understanding to launch the campaign was signed by BDS president Dr Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and club president Raj Damani at the club's weekly meeting at the Gulf Hotel's Gulf Convention Centre yesterday.

Dr Shaikh Mohammed said 30 per cent of Bahrain's adult population had type-two diabetes and although the percentage was lower in children, it was increasing, mainly due to sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles.

"We eat much more than we need and if you have a lot of body fat, you are prone to developing diabetes," said Dr Shaikh Mohammed, who is also Minister of State for Defence.

"The main control of the disease is not through medicine which helps 30 per cent to control it, but 70 per cent of controlling diabetes is through a healthy diet and exercise."

He praised the club for spearheading the campaign and said it would go a long way in helping promote awareness and combat the disease among the next generation.

"For children to have an independent life they must learn from the beginning how to make their injection and to recognise when they are getting hypoglycaemic," he said.

"Then the family will know they have the confidence to manage their condition and they don't have to be with them all the time. We are trying to make them adapt to their problem because the complication is very bad, it affects the heart, kidneys and feet."

The Diabetes Mobile Unit for children will be operated by the BDS and visit every governorate. It will target schools, clubs and community events and publish brochures and pamphlets.

The unit will provide services, including screening and early detection of diabetes, heath education for diabetes care and control, supporting and training children and parents to deal with the disease and raise awareness about the risk factors, symptoms and prevention of the condition.

The objective is to raise awareness about the warning signs of diabetes, promote healthy lifestyles to help prevent type-two diabetes, educate children with diabetes on the latest developments in diabetes care and how to avoid complications.

Humanitarian

The initiative will also monitor the control and progress of diabetes care in children.

Damani said the club had raised funds for the project from the last two annual six-a-side charity football tournaments, which collected BD55,000.

The amount includes BD10,000 donated towards the project by Bahrain National Holding Company, who is a partner of the campaign.

"Rotary is one of the foremost organisations in the world that works on humanitarian causes and uplifting the life of those in need," said Damani. "We in Bahrain are taking the first step towards our community service project in controlling this disease, which is engulfing the whole of the Gulf. We hope with this partnership we can improve the lives of children."

BDS vice-president and consultant family physician Dr Mariam Al Hajeri said diabetes was one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children.

She said it could strike at any age, even toddlers and babies and, if not detected early enough, can be fatal or result in serious brain damage.

"Diabetes in a child is often completely overlooked or misdiagnosed as flu or not diagnosed at all," said Dr Al Hajeri. "Diabetes imposes a large economic burden on the individual, national healthcare system and the economy.”

"Healthcare expenditures are expected to account for 11.6 per cent of the total in the world in 2010-2011. About 80 per cent countries are predicted to spend between 5 per cent and 13 per cent of their total healthcare dollars on diabetes," she added.

Dr Al Hajeri said besides excess healthcare expenditure, diabetes also imposes large economic burdens in the form of lost productivity and foregone economic growth.

"The largest economic burden is the monetary value associated with disability and loss of life as a result of the disease and its related complications," she added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Manama | Child diabetes | Rotary Club | counselling |

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