The Middle East Arthritis Foundation hosted its first Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis event in the U.A.E

Arthritis Foundation Dubai, U.A.E- 25 January 2015- The Middle East Arthritis Foundation hosted its first of several Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) events in the U.A.E to help raise awareness and support children and parents living with this illness. The first event was held in association with Tennis 360, on 23rd January at Meydan Tennis Academy.

The event brought more than 40 parents and children from the age three to ten years old to work on their functional movement through a variety of stations and games organised by Tennis 360.

During the event, German specialist, Dr Betina Rogalski ran an informational session for parents explaining the difference between a healthy immune system compared to a patient with JIA. She also gave advice on the different treatments available to help parents provide the best medication for their child. Clinical Psychologist, Sonia Singhal also ran another session for parents titled, “Coping Skills for you and your child.”

Arthritis is a very common condition in the U.A.E, affecting one in five people of all ages and from all walks of life. The most severe forms occur mostly in younger people with the average age of onset between 40 and 60 years.

Dr. Humeira Badsha, founding Member of the Middle East Arthritis Foundation (formerly Emirates Arthritis Foundation) said the event was designed to support arthritis sufferers through their daily challenges, and to help them enjoy a happy and full lifestyle. “We have a dedicated support group to help fight Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and put this crucial health issue in the spotlight. Our children need better care and our Juvenile Arthritis Campaign is our first step in a concerted campaign to draw attention to a critical health issue. At the Middle East Arthritis Foundation, our focus is to ensure that families of children are well-informed, educated and supported to aid in managing their condition and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.’’ added Dr. Badsha.

Katrina Thornely, patient supporter and former EAF Director of Operations and Patient Support commented, “Having suffered with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis from the age of 18 months, I can relate to the challenges these children who suffer with the condition are facing. As a mother of a three year old, I can also understand how terrifying it must be to have your child diagnosed with an incurable disease. Therefore the purpose of this and similar events is to offer both children and their families the support structures and advice that has not previously been offered in the UAE. “

“We believe this is fantastic opportunity to support the families of children living with JIA, while raising awareness that children get arthritis too. In the U.A.E approximately 10 of 100.00 children are newly diagnosed with this condition every year, making JIA relatively common and as significant as many of the other childhood illnesses,” said Dr. Betina Rogalski.

“Physical activity is increasingly recognized as import in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. In the past, major concerns were on the detrimental effects of physical exercise and sports activities; however evidence has proved otherwise, highlighting the beneficial effects of it.”

The Middle East Arthritis Foundation supports people of all ages living with arthritis and will hold several events this year to raise awareness for the management and treatment of this life-changing chronic condition.
For more information about this event and upcoming events please visit, or follow us on Facebook: Emirates Arthritis Foundation

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