The National Autism Plan 2017-2021 was launched by HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani on Monday.
The plan aims to improve the lives of people and families of people with autism, which has become widespread locally and globally.
Autism is defined as a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterised by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
The growing number of autistic people and the increasing demand for available services in Qatar stresses the need for the national plan, which helps in developing adequate general and professional support for autistic people.
The launch ceremony was attended by HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, a number of other ministers, representatives of related entities, and some families with autistic children.
The National Autism Plan has specified 44 recommendations to be implemented by 2021, including some short-term targets to be implemented within the first year of the launch of the plan. The plan recommendations focus on the programmes to increase public awareness on the issue and easing the early diagnosis process of potential cases.
Besides, the plan aims at improving the quality of the offered services, continue the development of care, education and community participation.
Dr al-Kuwari stressed that the launch of this national plan indicates the great interest of the country towards this category of the society.
"We know the burden and challenges faced by the families with autistic individuals, so one of the best components of this plan is these families that have been main participants in its preparation. They are more able to express their needs and challenges, and their expectations," she said, thanking the participating families for their efforts with the Ministry of Public Health and other related entities teams that took part in preparing the plan.
Dr Saleh Ali al-Marri, from MoPH, gave an introductory presentation on the plan. He pointed out that work is currently going on to put in place the procedures for implementing the plan.