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Reducing Diabetes Spread Starts With Education

On November 14, Saudi universities, hospitals, and schools held education programmes to raise awareness of the dangers of diabetes and how it can be fatal.

The International Diabetic Federation MENA region estimates that nearly one in five, in Saudi Arabia have some form of the condition.

The importance of diabetes awareness was stressed to Arab News by senior consultant ophthalmologist and professor Dr. Selwa Al-Hazza'a. In addition to other consequences including heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, loss of feeling, and gangrene, he warned that diabetes can result in diabetic eye disease, which can cause blindness.

To inform the local population about the risks associated with diabetes complications, the Society of Diabetic Patient Friends in Jeddah has started a number of educational and awareness campaigns.

Clinical dietitian and diabetic educator Asma'a Al-Harthy from the society said to Arab News that it functions as a mobile diabetes clinic that conducts awareness campaigns all year long, with an upsurge in campaigns typically occurring in November.

“Obesity, lack of movement, and unhealthy eating habits all lead to type 2 diabetes. We offer medications (and) consultations. Our aim is to educate about this silent killer.”

Moreover, the group runs awareness programmes in malls, offices, universities, hospitals, and schools.

Due to the rise in the number of diabetic children in the Kingdom, the Society trained more than 200 health counsellors from Jeddah schools throughout this month in order to raise awareness of the rights of kids with diabetes and guarantee that appropriate health care is provided.

Arab News spoke with Sahar Amer, general manager of Children's World International schools in Jeddah, “We pay attention to diet and health awareness for all students, starting with mental and general health and proper nutrition in order to avoid many diseases, including diabetes.”

One of the school's measures to lower children's risk of developing diabetes is to offer daily sports sessions because exercise helps burn calories and lower blood sugar levels.

Students who do not have diabetes are also informed about their diabetic classmates and how to help them in an emergency. The school has a nurse on staff who keeps an eye on students' blood sugar levels and supervises their meals to prevent any problems.

Together with the General Education Administration, SACD implemented its diabetes education and awareness campaign in Riyadh and Al-Madinah region schools for World Diabetes Day under the theme "Education To Protect Tomorrow."

World Diabetes Day was first observed in 1991 by the IDF and the WHO and was made an official day in 2006 when the UN passed the 61/225 Resolution to address the issue.

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