Dubai: Health authorities have launched a campaign to educate the public about the importance of early diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
The campaign, titled ‘Generation Health’ awareness campaign, is being organised by the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s Specialised Healthcare Department in government agencies and shopping centres to shed light on the disorder.
The ADHD is a mental disorder of the neuro-development type that affects children’s behaviour. Children afflicted with ADHD have short attention span and behavioural problems, which often result in poor school performance. The disorder is characterised by problems in paying attention, excessive activity, or difficulty controlling behaviour.
“The ‘Generation Health’ campaign forms part of the National Mental Health Programme designed in accordance with the ministry’s mandate to provide quality and globally recognised health-care services to all members of UAE society. We aim to promote the mental health and well-being of all community members by raising awareness of the disease,” Dr Yousuf Al Serkal, assistant undersecretary for the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s Hospitals Sector, said.
“Through our campaign, we hope to reduce society’s negative attitudes towards people with mental disorders, especially children with ADHD and their families,” he added.
Dr Al Serkal revealed that the ministry will establish a special clinic to treat children with ADHD.
Dr Muna Al Kuwari, director of the ministry’s Specialised Healthcare Department, said there is a gap in terms of accurate statistics with regard to its prevalence in the UAE but the number continues to grow based on the cases being treated by local psychiatric clinics and specialised treatment centres alone.
Dr Al Kuwari said a series of awareness campaigns were held at Dubai Festival Centre and City Centre Mirdif, in addition to initial diagnostic questionnaires given out to parents. They also organised workshop sessions at the first Academy School in Ajman for teachers, among others.
Similar activities will take place in Mall of the Emirates in Dubai on November 11, Manar Mall in Ras Al Khaimah on October 22 and Ajman City Centre on November 12.
The programme’s second phase will involve holding of workshops in schools to guide teachers in teaching and helping students with ADHD. The school sessions will be conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. The training will also target kindergarten and secondary schoolteachers.