Diagnosing and Integrating Children with Mental Disabilities

Partnership Objectives

  1. Improve early diagnosis of disorders
  2. Improve care for the children suffering from intellectual disabilities
  3. Integrate people with intellectual disabilities

Children and adolescents suffering from mental disabilities need a high quality care, including early diagnosis. Children and adolescents suffering from mental disabilities need a high quality care, including early diagnosis. Copyright Sanofi Espoir Foundation

What are the health needs and challenges?

Children and adolescents suffering from mental disabilities need a high quality care, including early diagnosis, the development of suitable centers, multidisciplinary treatment, and support for re-integration. However, in countries where difficulties due to social inequalities often weigh on the mentally disabled, access to such treatment can be random. And associations in these countries fighting to promote the rights of the disabled people still have to struggle to make their voices heard.

In Algeria, the partial epidemiologic data show that 10,000 births a year involve some form of mental disability. Despite the determination of public authorities, there are still considerable areas for improvement: the lack of early screening for post-natal mental conditions; the lack of diagnosis and guidance concerning multidisciplinary treatment (medical, psychological and social); an insufficient number of public and private specialized centers; the failure to integrate disabled children into normal school classrooms; the lack of real opportunities for social and economic reinsertion; the lack of guidance for parents, who struggle to have their disabled children accepted by society.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

This action aims to strengthen three (civic society) organizations in Algeria, Tunisia and Lebanon that represent people living with mental disabilities, with a view to transferring skills.

  • In Algeria, by raising awareness among early childhood workers and parents about the early detection of disorders right from birth, especially in the BEO District.
  • In Lebanon, by developing the early diagnosis and referral for the appropriate care of children suffering from intellectual disabilities.
  • In Tunisia, by focusing on the socio-economic integration of people with intellectual disabilities.

The program involves supporting medical-social actions in the field through the development of vocational training, giving guidance to families, and sharing experiences and practices among associations.

Lessons learned

Working with local health authorities and local organizations (NGO, unions) makes the program stronger and long-lasting. Futhermore, the Government must integrate in their national health action plan, early diagnosis, care and integration of children/people with mental disabilities.

Summary of impact through December 2013 and forward looking information

40,000 babies were examined in Algeria in 2011 and 1400 families received support in the treatment and integration of their child.

In 2012, a Trans-Mediterranean meeting was held in Marseille, France, to take stock of the progress achieved and to share experiences among Mediterranean associations in the areas of early detection, care and socio-economic integration of people with intellectual disabilities, in order to build on best practices.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Algerian Federation of Disabled Persons, Bab El Oued Public Health Center, Codip Corporate Foundation, Lord Michelham of Hellingly Foundation, National Union of Parents' Associations and Institutions for Handicapped Children, Lebanon, Santé Sud, Tunesian Union for Aid to the Mentally Disabled, University Hospital Centre, Bab El Oued

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, NGOs, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Mental and Neurological Disorders, Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Epilepsy, Mental Disorders, Mental Health, Neurological Disorders, Schizophrenia

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, Patients in needs of treatment, Youth

Region(s) Middle East & North Africa

Number of Countries 3

Country(ies) Algeria, Lebanon, Tunisia

Start Date 2007

More information Sanofi Espoir Foundation

Completed date 2011

« It seems important to emphasize the heavy task before us, and the urgent need to develop networks to improve care for these children. »

Professor Grangaud, Professor of Pediatrics, former adviser to the Algerian Ministry of Health