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Bangladesh pioneered autism awareness in South Asia

Staff Correspondent
02 Apr 2024 18:42:21 | Update: 02 Apr 2024 18:43:26
Bangladesh pioneered autism awareness in South Asia
— Courtesy Photo

Bangladesh Ambassador to Myanmar Dr Md Monwar Hossain on Tuesday said Bangladesh played a pioneering role, led by Saima Wazed, the current Regional Director of WHO-South East Asia region and Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Neurodevelopmental Disorder & Autism in Bangladesh, in raising awareness in South Asia.

He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Bangladesh Embassy in Yangon on the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) 2024 on Tuesday.

With the relentless efforts of Saima Wazed, Bangladesh hosted the first international conference on Autism in Dhaka in 2011 and supported the 2nd one held in Thimphu in 2017.

The ambassador mentioned that the government of Bangladesh, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been implementing various measures for the welfare of people with autism and disabilities in the country, including enacting necessary acts and rules.

He also profoundly applauded the active role of Wazed in raising awareness about autism across the world, including at the UN in the past decade.

While mentioning this year's theme which is “Moving from surviving to thriving,” the ambassador highlighted the importance of relevant SDG goals, namely, health and wellbeing (goal 3), quality education (goal 4), inclusive opportunities in the job market (goal 8) and reducing inequalities (goal 10) for the growth of the people with disabilities, including autism.

Representatives of the Swedish mission, WHO, Myanmar Special Education Association and a parent also spoke on the occasion.

The speakers discussed the necessity of early detection and intervention, countering stigmatisation and discrimination and the need for supporting the caregivers and parents while addressing the challenges of autism, according to a message received from Yangon.

Diplomats, representatives of UN organisations, including WHO and UNICEF, academics, civil society representatives, NGOs working with special child research institutions, officials of the embassy, representatives of Bangladesh community in Myanmar, representatives of autism association, teachers of special schools, special children and their parents were present.

Program of the day included keynote presentation by the Bangladesh Ambassador on “World Autism Awareness Day 2024: From Surviving to Thriving,” screening of video documentary remarks by the attendees and question/answer session.