Taif sets Guinness record with mass diabetes testing

Saudi Gazette report

TAIF — The city of Taif has set a Guinness record for testing the highest number of people for diabetes on Wednesday.

Taif University carried out 9,736 tests within eight hours, breaking the previous record held by India, which tested 7,024 people in one day.

By achieving this record, Taif University also secured the title of being the first Saudi university or educational organization to enter Guinness Book of World records.

Cheers and celebrations broke out when the results were announced by a representative of the Guinness Book of World Records Wednesday night at Taif’s Heart Mall.

Students of Taif University’s Medical College were deployed at 14 different locations to perform the tests.

These locations included malls, schools and the university itself.

Dr. Abdulhameed Sarwah from the university’s faculty of medicine was one of the doctors present at the testing locations.

He told Saudi Gazette: “This type of events have many benefits, besides setting the record.

“Our main objective was to benefit the public; they were able to know their blood sugar level as well as their weights in comparison with their heights.

“If there was any abnormality discovered, this allowed them to take good precautionary steps based on our advice before it was too late.”

“We know that one of the main causes of diabetes is obesity due to the type of our diet and lack of exercise.”

Osaid Al-Sulaimani was supervising four health teams at Taif’s Heart Mall.

He said: “The response of the public was great; it was above our expectations.

“We received a huge number of people, both men and women.

“Our objective was to reach 8,000 people and we easily managed to exceed that.”

Rasheed Talal, a fifth year student at the university’s College of Pharmacy, was one of the volunteers.

He said: “Our job was to create public awareness and educate people.

“We only did initial tests; if the sugar level was found to be really high we asked them to perform further tests at a hospital.

“A large number of people are unaware that they have diabetes, including children.

“Sometimes, they discover this when it is too late.

“We tried to make the people as comfortable as possible, so that it was easy for them to get in touch with us.”

Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that can easily be avoided by changing certain daily habits.

Over 25 percent of the Saudi Arabian adult population suffers from this disease and this figure is expected to double by 2030.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Saudi Arabia has the second highest rate of diabetes in Middle East and the seventh highest in the world.