The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) are participating in observing the World Autism Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day, which falls Tuesday.

Qatar has played an important role in raising awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at the international level. In 2007, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser supported the campaign calling for World Autism Awareness Day during the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which was unanimously approved by all United Nations Member States..

MoPH and its partners are organising many awareness events aimed at enhancing understanding, acceptance, and communication among all participants through activities, focusing on supporting people with autism, creating a positive and supportive atmosphere for families with children with autism. MoPH’s headquarters and several health facilities will be lit in blue during the celebration.

Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al-Thani, director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention Programmes Department, MoPH, said that strengthening cooperation between the health sector and the authorities concerned in Qatar contributes to improving the quality of services provided to people with autism, and increasing accessibility, inclusion, and support for services dedicated to them.

He added that MoPH pays special attention to people with ASD, as the Ministry is keen to cooperate with its partners to work on improving the lives of such people and their families in Qatar.

Dr Nouf al-Siddiqi, health leader of the National Autism Plan at MoPH, said: "The activities and events organised by the health sector in Qatar on this occasion contribute to promoting awareness building and providing valuable insights and information about autism, to promote greater understanding and deeper empathy for people with autism, stressing that comprehensive awareness and education based on scientific evidence is an essential step to integrate people with autism into society.”

She added that MoPH, in cooperation with the Qatar Foundation, through the Rafad training programme, will organise a virtual workshop on April 27 to educate parents of people with autism and the public.

Dr Sadriya al-Kooheji, assistant medical director, Child and Adolescent Health Services at PHCC, said that the Healthy Child clinics in PHCC's health centres provide ASD screening services for young children at the age of 18 and 30 months, stressing that correct rehabilitation starts with early detection of ASD.

She added: The comprehensive and specialized rehabilitation of autism includes diagnosis, speech therapy, occupational and movement therapy, behavioral, special education, and many others, stressing that the integrated support plan for people with autism with from early detection, then diagnosis and rehabilitation, school, and community integration and later occupational.
Related Story