On the occasion of World Down Syndrome Day, the Department of Psychiatry GMCH, Sector 32 along with GRIID Government Rehabilitation Institute for Intellectual Disabilities) in collaboration with the State Legal Service Authority Chandigarh, Chandigarh Down Syndrome Society and Dialogue Highway announced the initiative of making Chandigarh Down Syndrome free city.
The announcement was made during the felicitation ceremony of children with Down Syndrome and their families at Chandigarh Judicial Academy, Sector 43. The event was organized to bring together all the stakeholders of Down’s syndrome with the sole objective on one platform to make Chandigarh a Down’s syndrome friendly city.
Dignitaries present at the event
Children with Down Syndrome and their families were felicitated in the presence of Justice Surya Kant, Judge, Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh-cum- Executive Chairman, SLSA, UT, Chandigarh who was the Chief Guest. The event was marked with a Carnival for Down Syndrome Children, followed by a panel discussion consisting of the expert panel of doctors.
While speaking at the Valedictory Function, Justice Kant said, “It will be the joint effort of all relevant departments to join hands and make Chandigarh Down Syndrome Free.”
He said the estimated incidence of Down Syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. All the more, about 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosome disorder, every year. In India, since we have a very higher birth rate, the occurrence of DS is also equally high.
Other attraction of the event
Dr. B.S. Chavan, President, Chandigarh Down Syndrome Society and Joint Director, GRIID (Government Rehabilitation Institute for Intellectual Disabilities), presented a brief report on the facilities offered by GRIID and while speaking on the occasion said, Down Syndrome is the most prevalent genetic disorder of chromosomal abnormality among infants. The general masses usually confuse themselves between people with mental illness and people with intellectual disabilities like Down Syndrome. There is usually a tendency to shirk away instead of interaction. Dr. Chavan talked about the steps to narrow down this gap through GRIID -a self-sufficient institute for such children.
Dr. Chavan also emphasized that GRIID has already enrolled 280 children from Chandigarh and neighboring states with Down Syndrome through the weekly Down Syndrome Clinic being run at GRIID regularly. GMCH-32 has agreed to provide free investigations and surgical and medical management of all the patients coming to this clinic. He said six departments of GMCH -32 have designated faculty from departments of ENT, Eye, Cardiology, Dentistry, Psychiatry and Orthopaedics to cater to the needs of people with Down Syndrome with fixed days for preferential treatment.
Dr. Inusha from Early intervention program PGIMER, Chandigarh, while speaking on the occasion talked about how PGI has been able to help parents with children with Down syndrome through their early intervention program. Dr. Gurjit Kaur, Physiologist, GMCH-32 Chandigarh, the pioneer in setting up prenatal screening program in Chandigarh shared her experiences of a prenatal screening program in Chandigarh. Dr. Savita Sapra, Clinical Psychologist, AIIMS, New Delhi, enlightened how the expertise fits into the overall management of a child with Down Syndrome. She also talked about how exactly should parents be counseled when they are told for the first time that their child has Down Syndrome.