Sunday, September 26

Speakers: People with Down Syndrome suffer most from Covid-19

Three people with neurodevelopmental syndromes died amid the pandemic, among whom one was affected with Down Syndrome

If people with Down Syndrome get infected with Covid-19 they are more likely to suffer more from the disease, research shows.

Research on the issue was conducted by the Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA), a local non-profit organization, which released the results in a virtual program on Saturday morning.

Although the study was done to see the current situation of persons with Down Syndrome, the results revealed why extra care for them is needed during a pandemic, according to Farida Yesmin, executive director of DRRA, who presented the summary of the findings.

She wondered who would be the most difficult patients to deal with in the event of a pandemic.

Replying to a question, she said according to the data, three people with neurological disorders died from Covid 19, among whom was one person aged 25 in Mymensingh district.

“The number [of deaths] is definitely higher as many of the people [with down syndrome] who are suspected of the infection died even before they were tested. Most of them were from remote rural areas,” she added.

Praising the government decision to reduce the age limit for taking vaccines, Farida urged the health authorities to make special arrangements for people with disabilities, especially those with neurological disorders.

Why they suffer more

DRRA interviewed 300 persons with Down Syndrome in both rural and urban regions during the course of its two-year research.

According to the research, 97% of those who took part in it needed support from family members to move around and 60% of them were from low-income households that could not afford to spend money on anything other than their basic human needs.

A person with a comorbidity, such as obesity or heart illness, was also more likely to develop diabetes since such a person was unable to walk around regularly, said Farida, who is also the founder of DRRA.

She explained that the bulk of the family did not know what kind of morbidity they had, so when these individuals became ill, they assumed it was a seasonal flu and delayed treatment, pushing them toward greater sufferings.

No proper status of people with Down Syndrome

Farida Yesmin said that government data say that there are over 4,500 people in the country who have Down Syndrome.

However, she claimed that the number in the country is believed to be over 200,000 making parallels to the ratio in other countries.

They discovered that 69% of the patients who responded to their survey were identified by upazila health institutions that do not have diagnostic facilities, she said, adding that this was an issue in the screening process.

It would be ideal if the government could ensure that children with Down Syndrome were identified before they were born, she recommended.

“Without accurate data, the government will be unable to take the required steps, which is exactly what we are seeing right now. These folks, who are highly emotional but in danger, are the ones who suffer the most,” she said.

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