Hundreds of autism patients abroad to be brought home

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Hundreds of autism patients abroad to be brought home.

JEDDAH: Plans are afoot to bring back hundreds of autistic patients from abroad where they are being treated, and provide them treatment and care in the Kingdom.

A committee comprising five ministries (social affairs, health, education, finance and foreign) has started studying suitable mechanisms to achieve the goal.

Dr. Faleh Al-Rashidi, the general supervisor of the General Directorate of Medical Services and Rehabilitation in the Ministry of Social Affairs, said in a statement to local media that the study includes the possibility of bringing back Saudi autistic patients in Jordan. 

The goal includes recognizing the requirements of these cases in terms of health and rehabilitation services. The committee will report its findings to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. 

Al-Rashidi expected the total number of autistic cases in the Kingdom to stand at 250,000, even though there are no accurate statistics for these cases. Work is underway to devise a strategy to develop this service in the Kingdom in coordination with other relevant authorities.

He considered Social Affairs Minister Majed Al-Qassabi’s initiative of approving the national autistic center to take in the growing number of patients on waiting lists and provide quality services because they demand specialized technical services, and diagnostic and early intervention clinics.

Al-Rashidi said work is under way to forge partnerships with outstanding global centers to transfer expertise to develop the work of the national center. 

Al-Rashidi said the ministry faces challenges with the contractors of three centers for autism in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. 

Without disclosing these challenges, he said work is under way to complete these projects, which were established upon royal directives. 

He said achievement levels in the Riyadh project reached 30 percent, and 60 percent in Dammam. There are some challenges with the contractor in the Jeddah project and they are being solved, after allocating land for the project. He expected some of these centers to be completed within two years.(N24India)