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Home Year 2010 Deafness: Civil Starts Facility to Screen Children

Deafness: Civil Starts Facility to Screen Children

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Times of India
10 December 2010
By Vipul Rajput

It’s the first public hospital in the state to start a facility where infants and children aged up to 14 will be examined and treated for hearing loss and difficulties
The launch of neonatal screening facility at Civil is part of state’s effort to implement National Programme for Prevention & Control of Deafness

The launch of neonatal screening facility at Civil is part of state’s effort to implement National Programme for Prevention & Control of Deafness

For early detection of deafness, Civil Hospital has started a neonatal screening section where infants and children aged up to 14 will be examined and treated for hearing problems. It is the first public hospital in the state to begin such a facility.

According to the WHO, 63 million people in India suffer from auditory impairment. A large percentage of these are children aged between 0 and 14. Civil’s screening facility will seek to provide early diagnosis and treatment. Its launch is part of the state government’s efforts to implement National Programme for Prevention & Control of Deafness (NPPCD).

This programme was unveiled by the Union health ministry in 2006. In the pilot phase, 10 states and a union territory were covered. In Gujarat, NPPCD was introduced in Bhavnagar, Jamnagar and Rajkot districts. In 2009, Ahmedabad and Vadodara districts were also included.

Prevention of Hearing Loss: Gujarat Takes the Lead
TODAY, NPPCD is under execution in all 26 districts of Gujarat, the first state in the country to achieve this. "Hearing impairment is a major problem in the country. However, people suffering from it do not get the same level of attention or care as the visually impaired or the disabled do.

Hearing loss is a major problem. However, people suffering from it do not get the same level of attention or care as the visually impaired and the disabled do
—Dr Rajesh Vishwakarma, head of Civil Hospital’s ENT department

Hearing loss is a major problem. However, people suffering from it do not get the same level of attention or care as the visually impaired and the disabled do
Dr Rajesh Vishwakarma, head of Civil Hospital’s ENT department

The objective of NPPCD is early diagnosis and treatment of deafness and related difficulties," the head of Civil Hospital’s ENT department, Dr Rajesh Vishwakarma, said.

He is the nodal officer of the programme at the state level. "Under this project, the Centre is providing funds, whereas the state is training manpower and boosting capacity of hospitals and community health centres to identify and provide care to people experiencing hearing problems," Vishwakarma said.

Civil has purchased two machines to screen people. One of them is a brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA) machine, which is used to examine newborns for deafness.

The Gujarat government has taken the lead in implementing NPPCD. Audiologists are being posted at public and community health care centres across the state.

Deafness: Civil Starts Facility to Screen Children
Audiologists are healthcare professional who treat disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear. They give hearing aids and recommend cochlear implants.

At every district level, the government is creating the post of ENT surgeon. Earlier, such posts did not exist. It is training healthcare staff and grassroot workers in dealing with hearing loss cases.

It also sanctioning funds for purchase of hearing aids and medical equipment. So far, 200 hearing aids have been distributed among infants and children aged up to 14. These initiatives have cost the government Rs 2.5 crore.

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