How Down syndrome children in Oman are faring amid Covid-19?

Muscat: Since the onset of the novel Coronavirus outbreak in China late yeast year, the pandemic has left a deep impact on both individuals and societies. Among the segments most affected by the Covid-19 are the children with Down syndrome who are registered at classes. During the lockdown period, Down syndrome children have been deprived of the services provided by the rehabilitation centres.

Dr Asia al Namaniyah, a specialist at the Department of Child and Maternal Care at the Ministry of Health, said staying at home can affect the psychological, physical and social health of the children with Down syndrome.

Children suffering from Down syndrome may be more susceptible than the other children to be infected with Covid-19 in particular and respiratory infections in general. Moreover, scientific evidence indicates that the Covid-19 poses a bigger risk to patients suffering from chronic conditions including pre-existing diseases of the respiratory system, cardiac diseases, diabetes and immunodeficiency diseases.

In order to ensure the health and safety of a child with Down syndrome in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Asia said it is important to continually perform medical check-up for children with Down syndrome in accordance to the examination follow-up form (the pink card) to identify possible health issues through the specialised clinics for children with Down syndrome. It is similarly important to follow up the immunisations registered in the child’s health record.

In case the child is suffering from a respiratory problem or is recovering from a respiratory or viral pulmonary infection, it is necessary to take measures and precautions to protect the child from Covid-19 at home and to seek medical care if necessary, Dr Asia said.

About the many types and forms of psychological pressure experienced by families having a child with Down syndrome, Dr Asia said that children with down syndrome may not be able to reunite with their grandparents due to social distancing meaning they lack the social warmth associated with the extended family, she said.

Dr Asia offers some tips to the families that have children with Down syndromes to follow during the period of the pandemic. As far as these tips are concerned, children with Down syndrome should be taught how to properly wash their hands with water and soap and how to maintain personal hygiene and sterilise the objects surfaces around them. It is also important to provide them with simple, easy-to-understand information about the virus and the importance of observing social distancing and health guidelines to help contain the spread of the virus.

Dr Asia stresses that families of children with Down syndromes should occupy their children with a weekly schedule and evaluate their points of weakness and strength as well as teach them life skills at home and engage them with useful activities alongside the other family members. — ONA

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