April 1, 2023

The suffering of Moroccan families who care for children with autism continues in light of the weakness of places and institutions that have specialized human resources to keep up with this group.

Despite the Department of Health’s efforts to provide infrastructure, treatment centers still need to be developed, said Suad Benhamama, head of the Spark of Hope association for autistic children and an educator who specializes in disability special education.

A spokesperson in a statement to Hespress warned that autism cases are on the rise, stressing that treatment centers “still fall short of what is required for autism treatment”, adding that “the culture of working in the field of disability, as well as its structures, infrastructures and the spaces require it. Years of work and protection”.

And the president of the association stressed that “there is a shortage at the level of specialized personnel, specifically in the field of special education, to which the state gives a worthy place, in addition to psychomotor specialization.”

Civil organizations working in the field of autism lack human resources because alumni are directly integrated with the state, and there is a condition, if they want to work with associations, that they receive a license, which is not always available.

On the other hand, the spokeswoman explained that “early detection is important and has positive results, since autism can be detected at 3 months of age”, noting that “there are qualified doctors and specialists who are always up to date with developments related to this disease , but they are few.

The same association activist warned of the seriousness of some of the training courses that have been circulating on social media, stressing that “special education in developed countries lasts six to seven years, and a week of training in a course is not enough to qualify as a specialized educator.”

Ministry strategy

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population, according to the World Health Organization, people with autism need comprehensive medical care and a range of integrated services, including health promotion, care and rehabilitation. In this regard, it is important to establish ways for the health and social protection sector to cooperate with other sectors, especially social security, education and employment.

In the absence of exact figures and data on the prevalence of autism in Morocco, whose statistics from the World Health Organization puts one child in every 160 newborns infected with it, the ministry confirmed that it was working at the end of 2021 to assess the National Health Plan and people with special needs 2015-2021, which includes special measures for autism, as well as the completion of a new plan for the period 2022-2026, which strengthens the goals of the previous plan.

The aims of the previous plan, according to what the ministry said in response to a parliamentary question from the National Trade Union of Morocco reached by Hespress, are to “remove barriers and improve access to preventive program services, early detection of diseases.” leading to special needs, strengthening and developing rehabilitation services and support for medical devices, as well as mobilizing and engaging stakeholders from government and public institutions to ensure a comprehensive and integrated response to the needs of people with special needs.

The ministry said the current plan aims to ensure that people with special needs, including children with autism, have access to quality health services in the areas of prevention, care and rehabilitation, and is based on an approach involving relevant public sectors. , civil society and university hospital center experts. In particular, it also works to develop and update knowledge about autism through a range of activities, including the completion of research and guidance, improving the training of healthcare professionals in the early detection and treatment of diseases, and expanding the offer of reception, services and support for patients and their families.

Regarding the strategy of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection in the field of sponsorship and medical assistance related to people with special needs in general and autism in particular, the ministry confirmed that it is working on the development of infrastructure related to medical dressage and limb fitting, as the number of regional and regional medical dressage centers and fitting of prostheses and orthopedic products has increased to 21 centers at present, the centers are in the process of being completed and equipped to provide care for people with special needs, including autism.

The Ministry stated that in these cases, annual functional rehabilitation programs are conducted in terms of physical fitness, speech correction, vision correction or psychomotor training at the level of the joint regional centers for medical training and orthopedics or joint regional centers for medical care. training or one of the dressage and orthodontics departments of the hospital. Regional, regional and local communities.

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