Expert tasks families on children with Down Syndrome
Worried by challenges parents go through in managing children with Down Syndrome and lack of access to healthcare facilities to manage such, a medical expert, Dr. Oduero Olatunji, has called for more enlightenment and improvement of medical facilities.
Olatunji, a Consultant Paedeatrician at the Amuwo Medical Centre, said Down Syndrome is usually inherited from the parents as a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in an extra 21 chromosome (3 copies of 21 instead of 2), which is also called Trisonomy 21.
This condition predisposes the sufferers to some physical and intellectual challenges, to the extent that instead of 46 chromosomes, they have 47, with an extra chromosome, which manifests only when the child is born.
Olatunji stated that children with the syndrome manifest features, such as retarded growth, reduced muscle tone that results in floppiness, small nose and flat nasal bridge, small mouth with protruding tongue, eyes that slant upwards and outwards, flat back of the head, a big space between the first and the second toe, broad hands with short fingers, below average weight and length and palm may have only one crease across it.
He maintained that today, people with the syndrome can live a long and normal life, given the right medical attention.
According to him: “There are centres, like Moyin Oluwa Rainbow Foundation and SOS Village, where they are taken care of, instead of waiting for government support.
Founder and Creative Counselor of Moyin Oluwa Rainbow Foundation, Mrs. Tola Makinde, said the development of child-friendly healthcare environment was essential to improve the quality of children’s health as they grow up to become happy, responsible and healthy adults.
She maintained that the children should not be hidden, abandoned or killed, but be treated early, because they need multiple treatments, which though such may be expensive, ranging from doctors, speech therapist and occupational therapists to special schools, among others, are available at the centre.
The Foundation caters for the early support and intervention for children with the syndrome from ages zero to three and above with learning support, multisensory/child centre activities, mentoring and parental training.
Makinde told the Guardian that the Foundation had designed regular health programmers, awareness walk and health media programmes, among others, to educate and sensitises families and the public.
She added that recent research showed that mothers below 35 years could also have children with the syndrome than older mothers, as preciously conceived.
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