Minister of Health Dr. Fahrettin Koca delivered his opening remarks online Autism Awareness Day Symposium.
Delivering his speech, Minister Koca pointed out the increasing rates of autism, which is a complex neuro-developmental disorder that is congenital or emerges in the first years of life and affects the social development, communication and behaviour of individuals. Koca also stated “it is surprising that the prevalence of autism around the world has increased 240 times in recent 20 years. Thus, the services to be provided have become very significant.”
Koca highlighted that they need long-term infrastructure projects to serve Türkiye and to be a model for other countries as well as the problems to be solved in a short period of time, and also added “we are carrying out efficient activities in 17 different fields. In this context, our team is working on setting up new projects with international stakeholders.”
New services for the persons with autism will be discussed in the symposium.
Minister Koca emphasized that the quality of services will be maximized with the cooperation of nongovernmental organizations. In the symposium, Koca stated that re-organization of emergency health services for both families of persons with autism and kids with autism, Individual Service Consultancy model, planning on oral and dental health, new services related to nondrug interventions will be discussed. Moreover, he said that international participants will introduce different models to make great contributions into Türkiye. Koca noted “I would like to underline that although we gathered for ‘Autism Awareness Day’ event, the said services are planned for the benefit of all individuals with special mental needs, especially Down Syndrome.”
This year new pilot schemes will be put into practise.
Minister of Health Koca stated that primary data of pilot centres, samples of pilot schemes and planning for the persons with autism during the outbreak and health service planning in line with the primary data will be put into practise this year. Mentioning that in the upcoming years, they are going to work on dissemination of such practices whose infrastructures have already been prepared, Koca said that the activities are carried out elaborately.
“We have reached 2 million children through screening programme for autism”
Minister Koca added:
“To set an example, two crucial factors, which make positive contribution into the course of autism, are early diagnosis and effective early intervention; so, we have achieved a lot about the former one. We are so proud that we have reached 2 million children through screening programme for autism, which was launched 5 years ago. Family physicians, site coordinators and child, adolescent psychiatrists are conducting the programme successfully. Our next aim is to reach a much more quality service in early intervention. I would like to express that our Ministry will launch new projects within 2022.”
During his speech, Koca also pointed out that autistic savant people make contributions into the development of culture.