Dhaka – Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh and member of the WHO’s Advisory Panel on Mental Health, Saima Wazed Hossain, on Friday said 14 ministries are now working coordinately in Bangladesh to ensure rights of the persons with disabilities, especially autism, their access to education, employment and other socio-economic activities.
She was addressing as a panelist at a discussion on “Bridging the Inequality Gap (Goal10 of SDGs)” at the UN while attending the inaugural session of the day-long programme by the UN in observance of the World Autism Awareness Day, according to a message received here from Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.
Goal10 is one of the 17 goals of Sustainable Development Goals that is targeted to improve and promote the social, economic and political inclusion for all irrespective of age, sex, disability or religion to ensure inclusiveness in the country’s’ socio-economic development.
Replying to a question of the moderator of the panel about the effects of multi-sectoral approach to autism that are being implemented in various countries, especially Bangladesh, Saima Wazed said, since 2009, a massive country-wide awareness programme is being implemented.
Bangladesh hosted the first ever international conference on autism in Dhaka in 2011 where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sonia Gandhi of India made statements that created huge positive impact in the region so that the people started talking about addressing autism.
Daughter of the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and a renowned school psychologist, Saima Wazed Hossain said the rural-based institutions of the 14 ministries, including social services centers, community health clinics, and rural development organizations, have been providing services to the autistic persons and their families through reshaping their existing services and development programmes.
Parental meetings and training, training for doctors and field-level health and social workers, education, etc. are being done in a coordinated way.
As a result, the ownership of the issue has been shifted from the autistic family members and experts to the policymakers, members of the parliament, government officials.
“Everyone is now recognising that they need to do something differently for the autistic persons and that make a huge difference in evolving creative and innovative ideas for them and their families,” she asserted.
Permanent representative of Bangladesh at the UN Masud Bin Momen and other officials of the mission attended the programme.