Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Down Association All the Way to Oshana

A support group for people living with Down Syndrome in Oshana has affiliated itself with the recently established Down Syndrome Association of Namibia. The group which does not have a formal name yet was started in 2010 and has over 35 members with this chromosomal disorder.

The group is currently only known as the Oshana Down Syndrome support group.

Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in an extra 21st chromosome. The condition leads to impairment in both cognitive ability and physical growth that range from mild to moderate developmental disabilities.

One in 630 children born in Namibia has Down Syndrome, with a population of 2.2million citizens there should be an estimated 3,400 people with this chromosomal disorder.

The Down Syndrome Association of Namibia and the Oshana support group said they will join forces to lobby government for improved health care and educational facilities.

The association seeks to empower people living with Down Syndrome to live the best life possible. It also aims to achieve this goal through public outreach, facilitation of medical and educational support and work opportunities.

The founding members of the association are all parents or close family friends of people with the condition. Until last year, there was no official support for people with Down Syndrome. Founding the Down Syndrome Association provided the first institutional support.

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