New Telegraph

Excitement as pilot newborn hearing screening starts in Nigeria

Pursuance to reducing the prevalence and the impact of hearing loss in Nigeria, MED-EL Medical electronics, Austria, in collaboration with Hearing Healthcare Alliance, PATH Medical, Germany and some Nigerian hospitals, has embarked on a pilot national newborn hearing screening programme, which started with the training of Nigerian doctors and care- givers on the screening technique. Speaking at the training session on Thursday in Kaduna, Sebastian Holler, Project Manager, Business Development for MED-EL said, “Early diagnosis of hearing gives a higher chance for the best results of any intervention dealing with hearing loss.

This makes hearing screenings a significant success factor.” Holler revealed that “The shortage of specialists’ necessary education and experience is one of the most pressing problems. International human resources and know- how should contribute to the formation of a constantly growing cluster of professionals.” Peter Bottcher International sales man- ager screening and tracking specialist for PATH Medical said, “The screening is pos- sible in Nigeria as it is cheaper to screen infants on hearing and more expensive to have a community of deaf people. Nige- ria can have infants screened at hospitals within cities and even in rural areas.” Also speaking, the Medical Director, National Ear Care Centre, Dr. Mustapha Abubakar Yaro, represented by the Head of clinical services, Dr. Afred Nicholas Bemu commended the MED-EL for the partnership, stressing that the investment of the company in the human resources will help in reducing the hearing challenge of children.

On sustainability of the hearing screening, the Chief Medical Director of the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Professor Abdulkadir Musa Tabari who commended the programme urged pioneer doctors on hearing screening from Kano, Kaduna, Abuja and Jos to commit to the project and escalate it to the remaining part of Nigeria. The climax of the training was the pre- sentation of equipment for hearing screen- ing to participants drawn from Mihammad Abdullahi Wase Teaching Hospital, Kano, Maitama General Hospital, Abuja, Jos Uni- versity Teaching Hospital (JUTH) and National Ear Care Center, Kaduna, which is to serve as the final diagnostic center. The World health Organisation estimates that 432 million adults including 34 million children worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss and the number is expected to grow fast and reach at least 700 million by 2050. Nearly 60 per cent of hearing loss in children is due to avoidable causes.

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