Lodwar, Kenya — In an event that marked the culmination of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Turkana County Rehabilitative Services held a celebration on Wednesday at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital’s Occupational Therapy Department, aiming to enlighten the community about the genetic condition.
According to Kenya News Agency, Down Syndrome affects one in every 700 births in the country. Despite its common occurrence, there remains a significant lack of public knowledge about the disorder, highlighting the importance of such awareness campaigns.
The initiative, observed annually in October, focuses on educating the public, challenging misconceptions, and promoting the rights and abilities of those with Down Syndrome. This year’s theme, ‘With us, NOT for us,’ stresses the importance of including individuals with Down Syndrome in decision-making processes across societal institutions.
Dr. Kidalio Ekiru, the Deputy Director of Lodwar County Referral Hospital, clarified that Down Syndrome is not an ailment but a lifelong condition, and reassured that the hospital is equipped to provide necessary health services to support affected families.
Concepta Long’ole, the County Coordinator for Rehabilitative Services, emphasized the significance of early intervention and specialized education in empowering those with Down Syndrome to achieve their full potential. She noted that while there is no cure, various therapies, including physical, occupational, and speech therapies, are instrumental in aiding their development.
The event also signaled the start of a new initiative to create a comprehensive database for individuals with Down Syndrome and to facilitate their connection with occupational therapists in sub-county hospitals, further strengthening the support network for this community.