Abu Dhabi: Authorities have been urged to implement measures to ensure that the number of cases involving children suffering from diabetes in the country does not continue to rise.

"Currently, children make up 10 per cent of the total number of people who suffer from diabetes and we have to take measures to ensure that this doesn't continue to [be the case]," Omniyat Al Hajiri, a consultant in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (Haad), said.

Omniyat was speaking on the sidelines of the first Abu Dhabi International Congress, which discussed the latest developments in the treatment and combating of diabetes. The conference ended yesterday.

Diabetes tops the list of medical conditions affecting UAE citizens.

"The research discussed during the past two days should be adopted by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi," Omniyat added.

"However, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as how the population here will respond to the medication as well as some of the treatment methods."

Conference participants discussed the worrying trend in which children have been found to be suffering from not only diabetes Type I, but also Type II.

Omniyat said an awareness programme targeting pre-school children, some as young as four years old, had been launched to this effect.

"Currently, Haad requires that each school have a qualified nurse and clinic to help identify children who are at risk of developing diabetes," she said.

"There are also several programmes that are being put into place that will be announced soon, including a series of events and campaigns to help raise awareness among the public," Omniyat added.

"Unfortunately, it is known that campaigns don't have a long lasting effect but are a good start for Haad to develop partnerships with schools, universities and work places."

Most experts urged people to adopt healthier lifestyles to ward off diabetes.