Abu Dhabi: Parents should ensure that medical and developmental issues associated with Down Syndrome are detected early, Tawam Hospital has urged in a statement.
The hospital, part of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), has a comprehensive programme to treat the genetic disorder, and offer holistic care and support to affected children and their families.
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra copy of chromosome 21. The individual then has a total of 47 chromosomes instead of 46, and this results in intellectual and physical issues. The lifelong disorder affects one in every 1,000 to 1,100 live births worldwide, and is associated with considerable health issues that pose challenges to children, their parents, and health care providers. However, if managed effectively, children with Down syndrome can live life to the fullest as valued members of the community.
“At Tawam Hospital, we recognise that irrespective of the challenges that a child with Down syndrome must overcome, he or she, like any other child, has the potential to live a complete life and grow to be contributing members of the society. Our staff works with each child’s primary care physician to coordinate the several necessary services that these children need. Additionally, they educate parents so that they can grow to be strong advocates for their children and assist them in locating useful resources within their community,” said Dr Latifa Al Mansoori, specialist paediatrician at the hospital.
The programme has already benefited several children and functions as a support system for parents. The father of a child whose child is being treated at the hospital said the programme helped him find a sense of direction when his son was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
“Our child’s diagnosis was very overwhelming for us, both me and my wife knew very little about Down syndrome. It was very painful to see our baby getting admitted several times over respiratory illnesses. The programme at Tawam Hospital really helped us when we were feeling very lost. Today, we’ve come a long way — our son has grown to love life and his future looks bright. He is very energetic and loves sports and music,” the father said.
“All my children deserve the best that life has to offer and it my job as a mother to ensure that he lives a grand life — providing him with the right medical treatment and support is a part of ensuring a wonderful future for him,” the child’s mother added.
The programme offers comprehensive medical and genetics evaluation, developmental evaluation, referral to other sub-specialists, coordinated care and follow-up treatment.
The Down syndrome clinic is operational every Monday from 1pm to 5pm, and every Tuesday from 8am to 1pm.