ABU DHABI // Mobile medical screening units went out to schools last week to gather a clearer picture of the health of the capital's children.
Four mobile units will examine students in grades one, five and nine in government schools in Al Ain, Al Gharbia and Abu Dhabi municipality.
"By the end of the year, we will have a database to see the situation of students in government schools," said Dr Mubarak al Darmaki, the acting head of health management at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec). "We know that one in five adult locals have diabetes; what about children?"
He said the unit would also screen for problems or disabilities that could affect academic performance.
"Some kids are neglected," he said, "and if we detect any abnormalities then we can take the next step of providing special education for the child."
The units - each of which is staffed by a nurse, doctor, dentist, and technicians - will record each pupil's medical history, test their vision and hearing, and take blood samples.
The results of all the screenings will be compiled into a report that will be used to formulate health education.
Adec hopes that during the next three to four years it will be able to establish a full medical report for all 30,000 pupils in government schools.
Mai, a nurse at a school in Al Ain, said the records would help her in her work. "It's important for when there is an emergency and we need to know more about the students' medical history," she said. "We cannot always rely on what the child tells us."