Free glucometers for diabetics.
Riyadh: Md Rasooldeen
The Ministry of Health will distribute 800,000 blood glucose meters free-of-charge to diabetics within the next three years to help them regularly monitor their blood sugar rates.
Officials at the ministry revealed the distribution plan during a press conference held at Prince Salman Hospital, marking the distribution of 7,000 glucometers in Badiah district.
The ministry's move comes as part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness on the effects of type 2 diabetes and its complications.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Eman Sheshah, an endocrinologist, said the ministry distributed the glucometers to all the primary health care centers throughout the Kingdom. "We have some 10,000 patients in the hospital's diabetic clinic and today we distributed the machines to 7,000 diabetic patients," she said.
She added that needles and surgical spirit pads would also be disbursed to patients once in three months.
Sheshah stressed the severity of diabetics in the Kingdom, underlining that some two million Saudis are afflicted with the disease and another two million are on the threshold of developing diabetes.
"The machines will help diabetic patients monitor their glucose level within the comfort of their homes and reduce their visits to hospitals," she said, adding that it would reduce crowding at primary health care centers.
Diabetes is the world's fastest growing chronic condition, affecting all age groups.
There are 20 diabetic centers across the Kingdom, with one in every region.
There is an alarming increase in the incidence of diabetes among children aged 8 to 10 due to poor dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle, indicated Mohammed Al-Harbi, head of the ministry's diabetic centers and units during the launch of the nationwide campaign.
"We urge people to consider the risks and take action. Find out your family history, assess your diet, exercise regularly and speak to your doctor if you think you could be at risk of developing this type of diabetes," he said.
"The Kingdom has seen an explosion in the number of diabetes cases, with a 24-percent prevalence of diabetes, highlighting the global epidemic of the illness," he cautioned.
Young children are particularly prone to developing diabetes due lack of exercise, as most kids spend long hours in front of the television and behind computer screens, the official said.
"Lack of exercise and eating fatty food is making our children obese, a major risk factor for the development of diabetes. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children develop healthy habits," he noted.
"Schools should also place more emphasis on physical education, which is equally as important as other subjects," he said.
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