Last week representatives from Autism Speaks and the international research community visited Tirana, Albania at the invite of Liri Berisha. M.D. the wife of the Prime Minister of Albania and president of the Albanian Children's Foundation. The visit was arranged as part of the partnership between Autism Speaks and the Albanian Children's Foundation on the Global Autism Public Health (GAPH) initiative (Read a press release here). Thanks to the dedication and commitment of Dr. Berisha and the staff at the Albanian Children's Foundation, the GAPH Albania team had an extremely fruitful visit. They met with the Minister of Health, Anila Godo, M.D., the Deputy Minister at the Department of Social Affairs,
Mrs. Marjeta Zace, and Mrs. Pranvera Kamani, from the Ministry of Education. These meetings, as well as ones with families, local health providers and a range of NGOs, allowed the GAPH Albania team to construct a clear vision of how the partnership between Autism Speaks and the Albanian Children's Foundation will develop to provide sustainable solutions to the needs of families of children with autism in Albania. The visit culminated with the signing of a partnership document by Dr. Berisha and Andy Shih, Ph.D., vice president of scientific affairs at Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks would like to thank Dr. Berisha, the staff of the Albanian Children's foundation and Drs Deborah Fein and Iris Rathwell who are acting as expert consultants on the GAPH Albania project.