Posted on November 16, 2016

Marking World Diabetes Day, Sasol, the international integrated chemicals and energy company and Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), launched a new educational tool, “the Health Park with Salem and Sarah”, developed to support children and families living with type 1 diabetes in Qatar and the region.

The event witnessed as well the launch of the Official QDA Costume Mascots Salem and Sarah.

Around 415 million people around the world have diabetes and more than 35.4 million people in the MENA Region have contracted it. Latest research shows that this number is expected to increase to around 642 million or one in ten adults by 2040, a growing burden that needs to be tackled head-on. There are more than 200,000 diabetes cases in Qatar. Sasol and QDA are joining forces to provide them support in overcoming the challenges of this condition.  

The new board game and the official Salem and Sarah costume mascots were previewed at a special event held at the Sheraton Hotel, in the presence of high-profile representatives, media personnel and children with diabetes with their families. Through experiencing the game, families can learn about the various lifestyle changes they will have to go through, hence helping them to cope with the diagnosis.  This unique educational board game with the characters Salem and Sarah includes three different games: Health Park with Salem and Sarah, Slides and Ladders and Match up game. These games test the knowledge of the children with diabetes and their families on the food groups, on food that affects blood sugar and on the do’s and don’ts of healthy behavior of people with type 1 diabetes. These games were also designed to relieve children from anxiety and fear thanks to the friendly companions Salem and Sarah that they learn from and play with. 

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1,000 board games will be used in QDA camps for children with diabetes, as well as distributed through the Newly Diagnosed Program in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation. Dr Abdulla Al-Hamaq, Executive Director of Qatar Diabetes Association, said: “The Qatar Diabetes Association is always looking for innovative methods for preventing diabetes, managing the chronic illness and raising awareness about it, especially when it comes to the lives of young children whom are always in need of special guidance and treatment. Moreover, we are grateful for Sasol’s continuous support in contributing to the development of this unique educational tool, the Health Park with Salem and Sarah. We are confident that this game will be beneficial to the lives of the children and will help them build a better future.”

Commenting on the new project, Phinda Vilakazi, President of GTL Ventures at Sasol said, “Sasol is pleased to support Qatar Diabetes Association on the ongoing Salem and Sarah initiative for three years in a row. Diabetes is a life-threatening condition that is affecting a significant portion of the society. In line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, Sasol is committed to building a healthy population by increasing the level of awareness and knowledge about diabetes in the country.” Salem and Sarah custom plush toys were launched in 2014 to aid children and their families living with diabetes to cope with the condition, provide self-confidence and help them overcome the challenges that the condition presents.

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There is no permanent cure for diabetes, patients of all ages must carefully monitor their blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to prevent health complications. Diabetes remains to be a complex condition which children struggle to cope with on a daily basis. However, through the journey with the light-hearted characters Salem and Sarah and the newly introduced Health Park board game, diabetes is brought to a more comprehensible and understandable level. The new Health Park Board Game is available to families dealing with diabetes by simple registration with the Qatar Diabetes Association.

For more information about QDA, please visit: www.qda.org.qa.

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