Association of Medical Doctors of ASIA, founded in 1984, Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC since 1995








Tripartite agreement with Down Syndrome Society of Bangladesh and the University of Dhaka

Publication date:2018-06-27
By Kazuko Taketani, Secretary General of AMDA Volunteer Center

On 22 January 2018, AMDA signed a tripartite agreement with Down Syndrome Society of Bangladesh and the Department of Communication Disorders, University of Dhaka. The agreement was established with an eye to have all parties collaboration in various fields including the research on Down syndrome and other disorders, rehabilitation, treatment and management, as well as disaster preparedness. The three parties are also expected to co-organize awareness program, technical exchange and trainings for capacity-building purposes.

I recently had a chance to talk with AMDA Bangladesh Executive Director Mr. Sarder A. Razzak who shared with me his passion and the stories behind it.

What triggered AMDA Bangladesh to work on Down syndrome dates back to August 2008 when Mr. Razzak’s third son Rafan was born. After noticing that there was something different in the way the baby looked, a doctor at Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (JBFH) decided to have him go through a medical inspection. As it turned, his son was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Tearfully admitting that he had no knowledge of the disability, he knew exactly what to do. “I think our son chose us to be his parents before arriving into this world. In our country, the kids with Down syndrome are deprived of educational opportunities, and they tend to be reclusive even if they had no physical impairment. And that is why I decided to accept the challenges,” Mr. Razzak said.

Getting advice from his mentor (the late Mr. Mahbubul Alam Babu, Director Admin) at JBFH, Mr. Razzak started to learn about Down syndrome from scratch. As a result, he founded Down Syndrome Parents Support Group of Bangladesh in 2010 in which their activities became the catalyst for the local networking of the parents.

In acknowledgement of the group’s hard work in the years that followed, AMDA Bangladesh officially decided to include Down syndrome awareness as part of its activities. In 2014, Mr. Razzak’s untiring efforts led him to become a member of Down Syndrome International, a U.K-based international charity tackling issues related to Down syndrome.

On 21 March that year, the celebration of 9th World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) took place at JBFH, inviting both the children and the parents. The celebration garnered a lot of attention within the country as it was the first event ever to be held in Bangladesh. In 2015, it reached to the point in which their activities spread to regular schools, reflecting the change brought about by their persistent deed.

In 2016, after working together with the government to declare officially to observe the World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) nationally, Mr. Razzak learned that Professor Dr. Hakim Arif, the Founder Chairman, at the Department of Communication Disorders, University of Dhaka highlighted Down syndrome in one of his lectures. This later grew into another collaboration where AMDA Bangladesh organized first ever ‘October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month’ event to promote global single voice to address Down syndrome issues throughout the month gathering in three locations, namely, JBFH, University of Dhaka, and Gazaria Upazial, Munshiganj District (AMDA Bangladesh’s long-time project site).

In 2017, per Professor Dr. Arif’s advice, Down Syndrome Parents Support Group of Bangladesh developed into Down Syndrome Society of Bangladesh. By taking a form of platform this time, it allowed supporters from all walks of life to participate in their activities. At the same time, the Society and University of Dhaka officially agreed to establish a partnership for the awareness promotion of Down syndrome. As a result a joint initiative was taken for the first time to celebrate the 12th World Down Syndrome Day at Dhaka University premises on 21st March, 2017.

Ever since, the momentum has never seized. Promotional events were held at University of Dhaka, Gazaria, and Chittagong in March and October that year, and now Mr. Razzak is hoping to extend his activities nationwide.

With a palpable sense of conviction, it is fair to say that the movement to promote Down syndrome awareness has definitely taken off. I am very much confident that AMDA Bangladesh will continue providing assistance to both the children and the parents for better days ahead.
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