Over 14 lakh children suffering from ASD

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DHAKA, April 1, 2019 BSS) – The floor was filled with over hundred of patients and visitors, who were eagerly waiting to consult with their desired doctors.

Nurses, doctors’ assistants and hospital staff were struggling to deal with the crowd. Some visitors were shouting against a doctor’s assistant as they claimed that he (the assistant) has violated the serial number and favored some patients to enter into doctor’s room earlier.

Nobody had little time to pay heed to others’ matters as they were giving full concentration to take care of their patients.

In such a situation, a 10-year-old boy child suddenly fell down on the floor and became senseless. His father along with other people, who were present there, quickly held him up and took to the doctor’s room.

The boy was suffering from Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). After providing some instant therapies by the doctor and other caregivers there, the boy got back his sense within couple of minutes. After getting the sense back, the boy started behaving abnormally.

“They (the boy’s parent) call me a mad. I am not a mad,” the boy was shouting with different abnormal gestures. The parent, doctor, nurses and other caregivers there were struggling to make the boy cool down. Finally, they succeeded after around 20 minutes efforts. Then the doctor prescribed different medicines and therapies for the boy’s treatment.

When the parent came out of the doctor’s room, the BSS correspondent talked to them. “We have come from savar. The boy has been suffering from the disease since he took birth. But initially, we could not understand it,” said Shovon Kumar Sarkar, father of the boy.

“The more days were passing; the situation was getting more complex. When we have identified that our son is suffering from Autism, the condition of our son has worsen by this time,” said Shovon, a businessman by profession.

“If we could understand the problem from beginning, the condition of our child would not be such worse,” said Shilpi Sarker, mother of the boy named Shuvojit Sarkar. Not only Shuvojit, the number of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-affected children is increasing day by day.

Autism is still a neglected disease in Bangladesh and there is no exact statistics on how many children are affected with autism in the country. Over 14 lakh children in Bangladesh are suffering from ASD, according to media reports.

A two-day international conference on “Autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities in Bangladesh and South Asia” was held in Dhaka on July 25-26, 2011 to raise awareness on the neuro-development disease.

Against such huge burden of the disease, very limited number of health professionals are serving, thinks health experts. Although the service for autism is available at metropolitan areas, the people of rural and semi-rural areas are deprived of getting access to the service.

A non-government study titled ‘Autism in Bangladesh: Current Scenario and Future Prospects’, which was conducted in 20014 by four individuals, suggested incorporating the care for autism from the bottom of health service system, which is at the primary health care.

“It is not possible to increase the number of skilled health professionals overnight, so this present project can create a group of skilled manpower who will be able to provide primary service to the children with autism and advice to the parents accordingly,” the study suggested.

Talking to the correspondent, Dr. Professor Narayan Saha, Child neurology specialist, National Institute of Neurosciences, said proper care and treatment from early days can make an autism-affected child cure.

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