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Bahrain club launches diabetes drive

Manama, June 6, 2011

A BD40,000 ($106,000) initiative to screen 35,000 children in Bahrain for type two diabetes has been launched by the Rotary Club of Manama.

The project includes designing, equipping and staffing a mobile unit to travel around schools and villages in Bahrain to educate children and their parents about how to combat diabetes.

The Rotary Club of Manama is spearheading the initiative in collaboration with the Bahrain Diabetes Society and Al Kindi Hospital.

"Al Kindi Hospital will screen 35,000 children from all schools, aged 10 to 13, which is known to be when diabetes usually takes hold," said club president Raj Damani. "They will identify those with diabetes or those susceptible to developing the condition.”

“Each child diagnosed with the condition will be given a free machine to check his blood sugar. The data collected will then be passed to the Bahrain Diabetes Society."

Damani said that in phase two of the project the club would provide a diabetic mobile unit staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses.

The volunteers will travel around schools and neighbourhoods in Bahrain to educate children and their parents about how to combat the condition. The society will co-ordinate the activities of the unit and report back to the club on their findings.

"With continued support we hope to put a few more mobile units in Bahrain over the coming years, so we can provide counselling to children who are at risk," said Damani.

"Diabetes is known as a silent killer and by the time some people are diagnosed they may need to have a part of their body amputated and if we can eliminate this we will do a great service to society and children in general."

The Rotary Club of Manama raised the money from the last two annual six-a-side charity football tournaments, which collected a total of BD55,000.

The amount includes BD10,000 that was donated towards the project by Bahrain National Holding Company as part of its corporate social programme.

Damani said the club had chosen this project because the number of people in Bahrain with diabetes is increasing.

Bahrain National Life general manager Robert Grey said that diabetes was the second leading cause of death in Bahrain and 27 per cent of citizens have type two.

He said the number of people with type two diabetes was increasing and could be seen in the latest available figures from the Health Ministry.

It showed that in 2005 there were 1,858 with the condition and in 2009 this rose to 3,544.

"The number of new cases of children with type two diabetes was 119 in 2007 and 224 in 2009," said Damani. "Bahrain ranks 11th globally in diabetes."

Society member and National Aids Prevention Committee head Dr Somaya Al Jowder praised the club for the initiative and said it was important because the number of children with the condition was growing rapidly.

She said five to 10 years ago only around 30 children were diagnosed annually with type two diabetes but last year this number had risen to 120.

"The mini bus will go to villages and provide education and screening and raise awareness on how to control the disease," said Dr Al Jowder. "Any chronic disease needs support and once they have diabetes it stays with them, so they will need support from their family and the community.”

"The counselling will let the child to understand his problem and that he needs to have active participation in his treatment for the long run and to understand that it's his responsibility to take care of himself. It's a challenge for them because daily he needs to check his blood sugar." – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Diabetes | Screening | Rotary Club |

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