KATHMANDU, July 13: The cases of Down's syndrome, a medical condition in which a baby suffers from poor mental and physical development, have been increasing in Nepal.
As many as 350 cases of Down's syndrome has been registered at Down's Syndrome Society Nepal (DSSN), an NGO that works to support children with Down's syndrome.
The number of cases has been on the rise with the DSSN receiving 10-15 cases every month of late.
There is no exact record of persons with Down's syndrome as the country does not maintain data on them, according to Dr Imran Ansari, Department of Pediatricts in Patan Academy of Health Sciences consoles.
He said that there is little knowledge about Down's syndrome among parents.
"Down's syndrome is not a disease but a human condition where a child suffers from intellectual disability caused by chromosomal defect," according to him.
Older mothers run high risks of having a baby with Down's syndrome, he said, adding that the baby with Down's syndrome can be identified during pregnancy following diagnostic testing. The test is not available in Nepal due to lack of diagnostic labs," he added.
Parents, especially impoverished ones, take children with Down's syndrome as burden to the family, according to Shila Thapa, founder and president of Down's Syndrome Society Nepal (DSSN). "However, it has been found that some well-off families also do not care for children with Down's syndrome," she said.
We should not forget that every child has special ability and we should respect their right to life with dignity, she said. Most of the people in Nepal are unaware and completely ignorant about Down's syndrome. There is no exact medicine to cure the condition but the proper care and offering them creative art and qualitative education can make their life much better, according to her.
According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of Down's syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide.