July 25, Dhaka: Sri Lanka's First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa addressed the two-day international conference on autism that began today at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka to seek ways to enhance autism related services in Bangladesh as well as in the South Asian region.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the conference this morning while Indian ruling Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi was the chief guest.
Around 5,000 participants including autism experts, researchers, patrons, and parents of autistic children from Bangladesh and abroad participate in the conference on 'Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities in Bangladesh and South Asia'.
During the first-ever regional conference on autism, the participating countries are to establish a South Asia Autism Network to identify solutions to common challenges faced by each country and to provide training and conduct further research on the subject.
First lady of Indonesia Ani Bambang Yudhoyono, Speaker of National Assembly of Pakistan Dr. Fehmida
Mirza, second lady of the Maldives Ilham Hussain, Health Minister of Bhutan Zangling Drukpa, high level delegation and representatives from more than a dozen countries and World Health Organization (WHO) are attending the conference.
(Photos by Udesh Gunaratna)