Diabetic students to receive nine basic privileges

Health experts yesterday introduced a bill of rights they hope will help diabetic children in schools.

About 250 children, both diabetic and non-diabetic, took part in games at Safa Park, Dubai, yesterday to raise awareness of the problems faced by diabetic children at schools across the UAE.
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DUBAI // Health experts yesterday introduced a bill of rights for children with diabetes, seeking to increase awareness at schools about the basic needs of pupils who have the disease.

Nine basic privileges - including the right to take insulin injections whenever they feel it is necessary - have been listed in the bill, which is derived from the International School Bill of Rights for Children with Diabetes.

"The bill of rights is only one of many initiatives that we have undertaken to ensure children with diabetes get all the support they need to integrate with other children, both inside and outside the classroom," said Qadhi Saeed al Murooshid, the director general of Dubai Heath Authority (DHA).

The bill of rights also stresses the importance of giving diabetic pupils sufficient meal times, regular bathroom visits and adequate physical activity.

The initiative was announced at a sports event held at Safa Park in Dubai yesterday. About 250 diabetic and non-diabetic children participated in a variety of sporting activities.

The bill of rights will be submitted to the Ministry of Education, and health officials are hoping it will be adopted at the beginning of the school year in September. Already, flyers are being distributed in schools about the initiative.

"We want to increase awareness in schools and let them know that it is all right for children with diabetes to play and be active," said Dr Ahmad Abdul Rahman, of the Princess Haya Initiative for the Development of Health, Physical Education and School Sports, which organised the event.

Dr Abdulrazzak al Madani, the chief executive of Dubai Hospital and head of Emirates Diabetes Society, said: "It is very important to show children that they can live with diabetes provided they know how to manage their sugar level."

Dr Khawla Belhoul, director of the DHA Thalassemia Centre and founder of SweetKidz Support Group, said the idea for the bill of rights came after many parents complained that they were having problems with their children's schools.

"Some children were not getting admitted to schools because they have diabetes, some were not allowed to attend to their diabetes at school, some were even punished when they had low blood-sugar level because they did not behave normally," Dr Belhoul said.

What the bill dictates

Under the new bill, diabetic children have the right to:

1. Receive no discrimination in the admission or educational process
2. Eat whenever and wherever necessary
3. Check blood-sugar levels wherever and whenever necessary
4. Take insulin injections wherever and whenever necessary
5. Not be left unattended if they appear or feel unwell
6. Have necessary measures taken if they appear or feel unwell
7. Have free and unrestricted access to drinking water or use of the bathroom
8. Be permitted extra absences for medical appointments and sick days
9. Participate fully in physical education and other activities.