Autism Awareness in Nigeria

August 31, 2016

Autism in Nigeria by Anna Rania Klibi

With the complexity of the pervasive developmental disorder; ASD is a lifelong developmental disability which provides the way a person communicates and relates with people around them. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, not much is known of it and stigmatization of children living with this condition makes it even more difficult to deal with. It is estimated that 1 in 160 children around the world is affected and about 200,000 Nigerian children are affected too.

Awareness is necessary towards helping patients live a real meaningful life. It

is great to see the effort by Nigerians to bring Autism awareness into Nigeria, but it is still a very far cry and lots still needs to be done to backup children and adults living with the condition in Nigeria. I can clearly say that the enormous society in Nigeria have got a lot to do to reinforce and provide a good quality of life to people living with Autism.

A society, like the Nigerian one, still feels that autism can only be a condition associated with witchcraft and demonic powers. Over 1 million people in Nigeria live with autism today. So awareness is much overdue and some support should be available to every child and adult living with the condition.This is not easy, because the children after being diagnosed with the condition can barely have any improvement in their lives because of inadequate services.However, if the right support was given to them, just watch them read so fluently and excel so much in their academics that it would be a dream comes true.

Autism in Nigeria by Anna Rania Klibi
Autism in Nigeria by Anna Rania Klibi

Studies indicate a low level of autism knowledge and awareness even among health care workers. The majority of these studies have been from south eastern Nigeria and among health workers other than medical doctors. Medical doctors play an essential role in health care delivery in Nigeria. Their knowledge of autism, in any health care setting, is critical to the provision of

optimal services and reduction of the burden associated with autism. This is the first study, to the best of our knowledge, which assesses the knowledge of autism and management challenges among medical doctors in northern Nigeria.

The aim of this study was to highlight any knowledge gap and management challenges encountered, with a view to addressing them and consequently improving autism outcomes in our environment.