Proactive approach needed to beat Down syndrome

SALALAH, APRIL 17 – The genetic counselling clinic at Sultan Qaboos Hospital (SQH) stressed on regular counselling of people suffering from Down syndrome and called upon the primary health clinics to shoulder the important responsibility of identifying and referring such cases to specialty hospitals at the earliest. “This is important in order to avoid worsening of such cases,” said Amira Ramis bait Zaid, a genetic counselling specialist at SQH while explaining the role of primary healthcare institutions to a gathering of some parents and primary healthcare staff at Salalah Gardens Mall.
She emphasised on proper handling of gene related diseases and explained how to determine that the cases in front of them were related to Down syndrome.
“We should share our knowledge with each other to create awareness among the parents of children with Down syndrome at a time when some events or the other are being organised globally to mark the World Down Syndrome Day,” said Amira.
She said that these children should be equipped with skills and education to reduce their dependence on others and exhorted the society to treat them with respect and love.
The other experts gathered for discussion over the issue called for early medical interventions to avoid worsening of gene related diseases and assured that early medical interventions were very effective in managing such diseases.
They advised the parents, guardians and other caretakers to be in touch with the genetic counselling specialists, who play a vital link between the lab, hospital and the family in such cases.
The event was a joint initiative of the Primary Healthcare (Women and children health) Department, Directorate General of Health Services in Dhofar and Genetic Counselling unit of Sultan Qaboos Hospital.
“We recommend more and more personal counselling to be conducted even though we distribute leaflets and awareness pamphlets. Educational institutions do have their role in equipping Down syndrome children with basic skills, as there are cases in which some parents hesitate to take their children for outdoor activities and it becomes very problematic for them to manage when they grow without any day-to-day skills,” said another genetic disorder expert.
The role of genetic counselling specialists thus has become vital in any hospital system as they are the members of the medical team who have been prepared academically and medically to provide genetic counselling to individuals and families who are looking for information regarding genetic diseases or abnormalities by birth.