x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pupils learn to teach classmates about safety

In a survey conducted by the DHA, young people said they trusted their fellow pupils first - while doctors came 11th.

DUBAI // More than 100 school students have been trained to teach their classmates about injury prevention this year.

Pupils aged between 12 and 15 from 17 schools in Dubai and Sharjah attended three-day workshops conducted by the DHA and Unicef on how to prevent drowning, burning, traffic accidents, poisoning and falling.

"This programme uses a peer-to-peer strategy so that children can become the messengers of health and safety and educate their peers and family members," said Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, director-general of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

In a survey conducted by the DHA, young people said they trusted their fellow pupils first - while doctors came 11th.

This is the second year prevention workshops have been held in schools. A hundred children were trained in 2011.

When they began, educators found huge gaps in pupils' understanding about safety.

Aisha Alsiri, director of nutrition and school health at the Ministry of Education, said: "It's not restricted to a certain number of pupils, because they have taken it to the community. They are making the effort keep others safe too."

The programme is part of the health authority's wider injury- prevention strategy, and aims to cut child injuries. Around the world last year, Unicef says, 950,000 children under 18 died as a result of preventable injuries.

Although no UAE-specific figures are available, health officials said they are working to develop a database to record injuries in both adults and adolescents in Dubai with the cooperation of Civil Defence, Dubai Police, the Roads and Transport Authority and the Ministry of Education.

aahmed@thenational.ae