Islamabad: Italian ambassador to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo and his wife Lidia Pontecorvo on Tuesday presided over an event to mark the World Autism Day.
This was an occasion not only to raise awareness on the issue and highlight the phenomenon itself and its diffusion in Pakistan, but also to make known the activity and the projects of the Foundation through co-founder and Director Sana Azhar.
The Foundation, of which the Italian Ambassador and his wife are Chief Patrons, cooperates with the Italian Institute “Associazione Oasi Maria SS Onlus”, based in Troina, Sicily, which is a world renowned institution at the forefront in the diagnosis and treatment of autism and other disorders and which will offer its expertise to the Foundation and train its personnel.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo said: “We are happy and proud to promote awareness about Autism, and to help in establishing contacts and agreements between the world-renowned Italian center “IRCCS Oasi Maria Santissima” and “Pakistan Autism, Health Science and Research Foundation (PAHSRF)” which aims to become a comprehensive treatment center of this disorder.”
He said Autism was a very sensitive issue all over the world and in Pakistan “it concerns an estimated number of over 350.000 children and adults. We strongly hope that everyone will show solidarity towards this noble cause.”
An Italian embassy spokesperson said the aim of the Italian Embassy was not only to help PAHSRF but to raise awareness on autism problems in Pakistan.
Last week, he said, Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo had met the minister of health of Punjab Yasmeen Rashid.
“The minister said she was absolutely eager to involve herself and her staff in more attention to the issue. Prime Minister Imran Khan also issued a positive tweet,” he said.