Shuchona Foundation signs MoU with BPATC to help bureaucrats know neurodevelopment disorders


The Shuchona Foundation has tied up with the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) to help bureaucrats understand the ‘neurodevelopment disorders’ such as autism spectrum, down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Saima Wazed Hossain, a US-licensed school psychologist and daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who spearheads the autism campaign in Bangladesh as Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders, leads the non-for-profit foundation, Shuchona.

BPATC Rector ALM Abdur Rahman and Shuchona Foundation’s Vice-Chairperson Prof Pran Gopal Dutta signed the agreement on Sunday at its office at the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust in Dhanmondi. Saima witnessed the signing.

According to the Foundation, the purpose of the MoU is to provide all civil service trainees of Bangladesh a “holistic understanding about the neurodevelopment disorders”.

This is so that they can address the various neurodevelopment disorder related issues when they hold different government positions in any sector and at any level.

“This will help in changing mindset of the civil servants. They will understand the issue and contribute to creating awareness at the field level,” the BPATC rector said.

Neurodevelopmental disorders, NDDs, are a group of disorders in which the development of the central nervous system is disturbed. It can manifest with learning, language or non-verbal communication problems, among others.

Saima brought the neglected issue to the fore through organising a regional conference in 2011.

As a result of her efforts, the Neurodevelopmental Disability Protection Trust Act 2013 has been passed. The United Nations adopted several resolutions based on her proposals.

The UN health agency also awarded her, noting that she had put autism on WHO’s map. She is also a member of the WHO expert panel on mental health.

She has set up the Suchona Foundation to coordinate and mainstream policies and programmes for mental health, autism and other neuro-developmental disorders.

Shuchona’s primary goal is to work to provide a new beginning for persons with mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders so that they no longer feel excluded from society.

It also aims at developing “innovative, high-impact and low-cost sustainable programmes which can be implemented within the existing national infrastructure through effective public and private partnerships”.

Former health minister AFM Ruhal Haque and Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hasan Papon who are members of the Foundation were present among others.

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