Statistics from the Child Development Centre (CDC) show that in the last 20 years, the Sultanate has recorded an average of 10 children born with Down syndrome each year, said Head of CDC at the Ministry of Health (MoH) Dr Hajah Mawarni binti Haji Abdul Hamid.
She also noted that the likelihood of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome is tied to the mother’s age.
However, due to higher fertility rate in younger women, 51 per cent of children with Down syndrome were actually birthed by women under the age of 35.
Dr Hajah Mawarni shared the findings in her welcoming remarks at an event to mark World Down Syndrome Day 2023 at the CDC, Kiarong. Acting Chief Executive Officer (Special Grade) at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital Abdol Hazis bin Haji Ahad attended as the guest of honour.
She also noted that individuals with Down syndrome have a higher risk of experiencing certain medical conditions, such as disabilities, congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, childhood leukaemia, thyroid disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
“Alhamdulillah, most of these diseases can now be treated. Therefore, most Down syndrome individuals can enjoy a healthy and long life,” she said. She also shared some strategies to ensure that every individual with Down syndrome can lead a productive life including receiving good healthcare, early intervention since birth in terms of development and quality education.
A positive home environment as well as strong support from family, friends, school and community are also beneficial,” she said.
In conjunction with this year’s World Down Syndrome Day, the MoH in collaboration with relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs) organised various events such as a mass march, as a show of support for children with Down syndrome. Several government agencies and NGOs were also enlivened the celebration yesterday, including the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Band.
Themed ‘With Us, Not for Us’, the celebration this year emphasises on the importance of affirming the basic rights of all individuals with disabilities and the opportunity to improve their quality of life in all aspects.