The autism conference adopted 7-point Dhaka Declaration with a call for promoting stronger coordinated actions in the region and globally to improve access and quality of healthcare services for individuals with autism and developmental disorder.

Sri Lankan First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa read out the declaration in Ruposhi Bangla Hotel here yesterday.

Indian National Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, wife of Vice President of Maldives Ilham Hussain and ministers and delegates from different countries attended the conference.

The conference adopted the following 7-point declaration:

1. Adopt this declaration with the objective of promoting stronger and coordinated actions in the region and globally towards the improvement of access and quality of healthcare services for individuals with autism and developmental disorders;

2. Endorse the following priority actions for realising our vision to meet the health care needs of children with developmental disorders:

a. Increase awareness of the rights of children with developmental disorders and to highlight social responsibility to persons with such disabilities.

b. Strengthen health systems' capacity to address the needs of children with developmental disorders and their families.

c. Improve capacities of professionals involved in provision of integrated care services for children with developmental disorders at various levels, from primary health care and communities to specialised services.

d. Mobilise and allocate increased human and financial resources for the health care of children with developmental disorders and for gradual implementation of the identified priority actions.

e. Support provision of care in close proximity with families, homes and schools, and promote normal participation in family life, education and society.

f. Establish measures for assurance of quality of services.

g. Promote a supportive national legislative and policy environment to ensure social inclusion.

h. Ensure effective group mechanisms across sectors and particularly, among health, education, and social services, and promote adoption of a holistic approach to care provision for developmental disorders.

i. Hold regularly scheduled regional conferences to continue to share information and best practices as well as monitor progress.

3. Recognise that low and middle income countries need prioritisation and support for adaptation of methodologies of care according to local context and specificities;

4. Call upon the governments, especially the ministries of health, education and social affairs, to strengthen their mental health services and prepare them to attend to the needs of people with developmental disorders and autism.

5. Invite the United Nations, including the World Health Organisation, and other relevant UN agencies to provide scientific evidence and technical support to member states in the implementation of actions towards increased public awareness, and improved health care services for children with developmental disorders, including autism, in the context of integrated case services for child mental health.

6. Request other international, bilateral and non-governmental organisations, especially those dedicate to developmental disorders and autism to support this declaration according to their specific mandates; and

7. Appeal to the donor community to pay attention to the unmet needs of millions of people affected by developmental disabilities and autism and financially support the technical programmes planned to improve the relevant systems of care and services.
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Seven-point Dhaka Declaration Adopted
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