Ignorance on autism remains a big challenge-MoH

By Mabuchi Chunga

The ministry of health has admitted that there is a knowledge gap as most people in the country are not aware of the condition known as Autism.

Autism, which affects children, is a serious developmental disorder which impairs the ability to communicate and interact.

Director for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health (MoH), Dr. Jones Kaponda Masiye, said the country is not doing well in raising awareness about the condition.

He made the remarks as the country joined the rest of the world in commemorating Autism day which falls on April 2, annually.

Dr. Masiye said: “We need to do more on sensitization, however, we are working with our colleagues in Medical Rehabilitation Units to make sure that they sensitize parents who have children with Autism condition.”

He further said the ministry is also working with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to step up efforts in raising awareness.

Meanwhile an education expert, Jennifer Ngwira, who is the Head of Special Needs Education at the Catholic University, has also attributed lack of knowledge on Autism as a major factor which has negatively affected the education of people with such condition.

“In education we have that big gap where most of the teachers are graduating without knowing various disabilities that exist including Autism,” she lamented.

Autism can’t be cured but early recognition, as well as behavioural, educational and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.

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