Dubai: A health official from the Health Department of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) launched the ‘Special Olympics Train the trainers’ programme at the Abu Dhabi Global market on Sunday.
Programme volunteers screened more than 100 people with intellectual disability as part of the Specially Olympics Healthy Athletes programme providing free health education, screening in podiatry, vision, dentistry, fitness, nutrition, audiology and emotional well being among other things.
The official, Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, who is also a member of the Higher Committee for Special Olympics World Games 2019 said that it was a real honour for Abu Dhabi to host the games. “It is a true reflection of UAE’s 2021 vision which promotes an inclusive environment by extending care towards all segments of the community. This is a sentiment that emanates from the principles introduced by our founding father, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan back in the day, and one which is still upheld by our wise leadership today,” she said.
With less than six months to go until the Special Olympics Mena Regional Games 2018 (March 17 to 22), seven clinicians from across the world arrived in Abu Dhabi to train 16 regional and more 30 local physicians on how to screen people with intellectual disabilities as part of the three-day ‘Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Train The Trainers’ event.
Dr Barakat added: “It is no coincidence that the Healthy Athletes Programme mirrors our vision for A Healthier Abu Dhabi. As part of our initiatives for the 2017 UAE Year of Giving, we have taken major steps towards integrating people of determination into the community. By helping individuals with disabilities overcome various challenges, we are preparing them to become highly qualified and productive members of society. At the same time we are breaking down societal misperceptions.”
The Special Olympics Mena Regional Games will be held in Abu Dhabi in preparation for the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. The team of local physicians who signed up as volunteers to receive training and provide health screenings this weekend, will go on to train other local volunteers in preparation for the Healthy Athletes program at the Regional Games in March. It is expected that more than 1,600 athletes will compete at the regional games and more than 7,000 will compete at the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.