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Health Minister Patrons National Workshop to Launch the Program of Early Detection of Autism

Health Minister Patrons National Workshop to Launch the Program of Early Detection of Autism

Health Minister Patrons National Workshop to Launch the Program of Early Detection of Autism


The Ministry of Health (MOH) represented by The Directorate of Primary Health Care-Department of Woman and Child Health in collaboration with the Section of Psychological Health in the Department of Non Communicable Diseases and Sultan Qaboos University organized today Monday a national workshop to launch the program of early detection of Autism. The national workshop was held at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Meeting Hall under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Al Saidi, Minister of Health in the presence of prominent figures, and Their Excellency Members of Health Committee in the Consultative Council and State Council. The event was attended by officials from MOH, Ministry Social Development, Ministry of Education, representatives from Non-Governmental Organizations, relevant private sectors and number of doctors and health workers from all governorates.

H.E. the Minister of health confirmed in the his welcoming speech the pursuit of Ministry of Health to improve the programs of child’s health that was included in the five- year health plans. The Minister mentioned that as part of the efforts by the ministry to improve the diagnostic and therapeutic services for children with special needs, early detection of Autism is considered the main step for the diagnosis and consequent therapeutic and rehabilitation services at an early age. That will definitely contribute in improving the quality of Child’s life, his family, and to combine him with the community. 

In addition, His Excellency has remarked on the visit of Professor Erick, Autism Expert, to the Sultanate during last April to assist in development of work strategy, which adopted the national strategy of Autism in cooperation with stakeholders. He further pointed out to the role of Ministry of Health to provide the services of early national detection of Autism at an early age with provisions of diagnostic services.

H.E. Dr. Al Saidi emphasized on the importance of working with partners and relevant governmental and governmental sectors to provide suitable services for those children, to improve the quality of their life and to increase community awareness.  

The workshop was commenced by introducing the national policy of autism and presenting the symptoms of Autism and the diagnostic tools from the Omani version enhanced pictures for those between 16-30 months (M-CHAT). Moreover, it explained the detection tool in the national program and clarified the techniques used in calculating the marks in the questionnaire. Additionally, a presentation was delivered to explain the referral algorithm of moderate and highly suspicious cases to tertiary Health care to be examined clinically and how to use the attachments of referral to receive rehabilitation assistance accordingly.

At the end of the workshop, the attendees were divided into working groups to be trained on the usage of the results of the questionnaire and detection tools.

It is worth to mention that Autism is not a disease or a disability. Autism is a Developmental Neurological disorder that affects the child before the third year of age. One of its symptoms is weakness of social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication.