According to the UN recommendations, World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on 21 March every year to raise public awareness of Down syndrome. It gets its name from the British doctor, John Langdon Down, who identified this clinical condition first in 1866. It is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of a third copy of chromosome-21. Usually, people have 46 chromosomes in all their cells, but people with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes, and because of this, they look different and learn differently. The incidence of Down syndrome is between 1 in 1000 live births worldwide. (1)
Down’s syndrome is characterised by its observed effects on learning styles, physical characteristics and health. Individuals with Down syndrome have varying cognitive delays ranging from mild to severe. They exhibit decreased muscle tone, a small nose and flat nasal bridge, eyes slanting up, irregularly shaped ears and a large tongue relative to the mouth. They may also be prone to various defects such as congenital heart diseases, hearing loss, eye problems.
World Down’s Syndrome Day: Global Efforts
The primary purpose of World Down Syndrome Day is to create awareness among people about this disorder and to stand with those people having Down syndrome. This day advocates that proper nutrition and the depression-free lifestyle of a pregnant mother is necessary. Another purpose that determines the observance of this day is to let people set a suitable age for marriages (between 25-34) so that motherhood happens at the right age. The probability of this disorder must be decreased through these precautionary steps.
World Downs Syndrome Day falls in the category of the UN’s 10th goal, ‘Reduce Inequality’, which is advocacy that suggests that avoiding discrimination in terms of inequality based on gender, race, origin etc. needs to be supported towards the goals of a sustainable world.
Earmarked access to healthcare, appropriate research, early intervention programmes, and inclusive education are vital to an individual’s development. The aim is to enrich the lives of individuals with Down syndrome by providing regular check-ups by health professionals to monitor the physical and mental growth, facility to provide physiotherapy, counselling or special education. Community-based support systems such as special schools also form part of the system.
The colours of Down’s Syndrome Awareness are Blue and Yellow. World over, blue and yellow paintings, candles, bulbs and nail polish of these colours are on display and even worn to create awareness. It is celebrated worldwide by observing a day of encouragement for the affected people and making them inclusive in society. (2)
The theme signifies that in this pandemic era, the people having Down’s syndrome should be extended full support in the society; to ultimately fulfil the 2030 UN agenda for SDGs that ‘no one is left behind.
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Shubham Pharmachem’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical teams strive to provide relevant information through such articles.