x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

International competition aims to raise awareness of diabetes

People with diabetes in the Middle East can win a trip to the US by painting a picture or writing a song expressing how the disease affects them.

ABU DHABI // People with diabetes in the Middle East can win a trip to the US by painting a picture or writing a song expressing how the disease affects them. The global Inspired by Diabetes competition is running for the second time in the UAE, after attracting more than 250 entries last year. Organisers are calling for art, essays, poetry, photography or music to express what it means to have diabetes.

Dr Abdulrazzaq al Madani, the president of the Emirates Diabetes Society, said competitions like this could raise awareness of the causes of diabetes among children, which could help slow the rate of the disease. "Diabetes is affecting children more and more, especially in the UAE, and the earlier we can reach them and teach them the better," Dr al Madani said. Nearly one in five people in the UAE have diabetes, the second-highest rate in the world after the South Pacific island nation of Nauru.

The competition, a collaboration of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and the International Diabetes Federation, was launched at the Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai as part of the mall's Unite for Diabetes campaign. Winners of the Middle East section will move on to the international round. Entrants can win $5,000 (Dh18,365) to donate to charity, a trophy and an all-expenses paid trip to the US for the opening of the winner's exhibition.

Last year's winner of the under-nine age group, Hamdan Fahd, who has a family member with diabetes, drew a picture of children playing sport. Exercise is one of the key factors in reducing the risk of diabetes. The winner of the adult category was Asma al Shirawy, a student. "I participated in this competition to support diabetics and warn others of this disease,'' Ms al Shirawy said. Inspired by Diabetes is open to all ages and the deadline for submissions is Feb 20, 2009.

More information is available at www.inspiredbydiabetes-me.com munderwood@thenational.ae