An average of 8 babies yearly are born with Down’s Syndrome
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Down’s syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is the most common chromosomal defect globally; a condition occurring at a rate of approximately 1 in 700 births.
The Government has said in a statement that, in Malta and Gozo an average of 8 babies are born with Down’s syndrome yearly. Over the last 20 year period a total of 166 babies with Down’s syndrome were registered with the Malta Congenital Anomalies Register.
On the occasion of World Down Syndrome Day happening tomorrow, the 21st of March, which also happens to be its 10th anniversary, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Chris Fearne applauded the sterling work being undertaken by the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic within Birkirkara Health Centre.
Run in conjunction with the Malta Down Syndrome Association the clinic attends to 16 year old plus individuals afflicted by Down’s syndrome.
Dr Fearne hailed the seamless service which beyond the routine medical follow up and screening service is an invaluable opportunity for the provision of early and appropriate health promotion and education.
Running every Saturday morning this clinic has close to 170 registered clients. Talks about self-care, friendship, dating and contraception, amongst others, are held for the Down’s syndrome adult community, their parents and guardians.
A main target of the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic is to promote healthy lifestyles to persons with Down’s syndrome and to nurture a holistic attitude towards health issues. Persons with Trisomy 21 have an increased risk of certain health problems such as heart disease, hypothyroidism, hearing and visual impairment, diabetes, musculoskeletal conditions and epilepsy.
It is therefore recommended that regular health screening for persons with Down’s syndrome is carried out to ensure that any ailment can be detected and treated as early as possible.
Photograph: DOI/Andrew Gauci Attard