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Improved access to health and early intervention services for people with Down syndrome in Bangladesh using community resource centres.

AMDA Bangladesh aims to provide early intervention therapies and facilitate affordable access to appropriate healthcare in Bangladesh

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What problem does your idea solve?

Most people with Down syndrome in disadvantaged areas of Bangladesh do not have access to appropriate early intervention or healthcare services, due to a variety of factors. Down syndrome is often diagnosed either late or not at all, and once diagnosed there is little information available about the specific development or medical needs that people with Down syndrome have. This is compounded by early intervention and medical services being either non-existent or unaffordable.

Explain your idea

This project will establish resource centres in disadvantaged areas of Bangladesh, which will utilise multiple complementary activities to address the lack of early intervention and healthcare services holistically. The first activity will be to reach out to the community to identify people with Down syndrome, and use Karyotyping tests to confirm that people have the condition if it has not already been diagnosed. Then information will be provided about Down syndrome, including its potential impact on child development, associated medical conditions, and essential therapies and treatments. The resource centre will provide an early intervention service for children with Down syndrome and their families. It will provide support and information to parents on how to interact with their children, how to meet their child's specific needs and how to enhance their child’s development. It will also offer physical, occupational, and speech and language therapies to the children. The resource centre will develop partnerships with local hospitals and clinics, to identify available treatments and negotiate discounted access to appropriate treatments (AMDA Bangladesh already has similar relationships with some hospitals in Bangladesh). It will encourage people with Down syndrome to be screened for associated medical conditions, and refer them to appropriate healthcare. Finally it will subsidise medical treatments for the people with Down syndrome and their families with the lowest inc

Who benefits?

This project is aimed at people with Down syndrome in marginalised communities in Bangladesh. The resource centres will be located in communities where incomes are generally low, and where access to medical services is limited. The project will benefit all people with Down syndrome, but the early intervention service will be aimed at children, and the subsidised medical treatments will be aimed at the people with Down syndrome and their families with the lowest incomes.

How is your idea unique?

This idea is unique in that it addresses the problem of inadequate access to services more holistically than other health interventions. As described above, there are numerous factors limiting people with Down syndrome in marginalised communities from accessing these services. This project uses multiple complementary activities to address these different factors to ensure that the target group of people with Down syndrome in Bangladesh are able to access vital early intervention and medical services that are currently unavailable to them. The community outreach component will ensure that people with Down syndrome and their families are aware of Down syndrome and the services that they may need. The early intervention component will provide support to families and therapies to children with Down syndrome, and the medical component will support them to access existing healthcare services that they may have been unaware of or unable to access.

Tell us more about you

The project has been designed by AMDA Bangladesh with support from Down Syndrome International (DSi). AMDA Bangladesh would be responsible for implementing the project, with DSi providing support and monitoring and evaluating the project. AMDA Bangladesh is an NGO working to improve the lives of people with Down Syndrome in Bangladesh, and is a member organisation of DSi, a charity and global network of Down syndrome organisations based in the UK.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

As one of the main activities of this project is identifying people with Down syndrome in the community, there is a level of uncertainty about the number of people with Down syndrome that will benefit from it. Obviously it is possible to estimate using average rates of prevalence, but we will not know exactly until the project is underway. Also we will not know the demographics of the population of people with Down syndrome identified, so the balance of how much money to spend on each activity could vary. For example, if there are a higher proportion of young children with Down syndrome than expected, we may have to spend more on the early intervention component.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Bangladesh

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Idea Maturity

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it.

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