- CHANDIGARH: To manage hearing loss in newborn and young children, Punjab government launched an automated auditory brainstem response system (AABR) under universal newborn hearing screening programme. By doing so, Punjab has become the first state in the country to introduce the system.
- Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the initiative will help in effective screen of hearing loss in newborn and young children.
- Sharing the programme’s key features, Sidhu said that after diagnosing the hearing disability in a child, the state government also provides free of cost cochlear implant which is a surgically implanted neuroprosthesis that provides a person with sensorineural hearing loss a modified sense of sound.
- Sidhu said that hearing loss is one of the major birth defects in children and in a developing country like India, 5-6 per thousand children are born with this defect. He said that screening of hearing loss in newborns and children has remained a challenge considering the traditional methods available in India to date.
- National Health Mission MD Kumar Rahul said Punjab has been leading all other states in screening for hearing loss and is all set to expand this programme up to grass root level by providing these indigenous machines to all 22 district hospitals.
- The nodal officer for the national programme for prevention and control of deafness (NPPCD), Dr Baljit Kaur further elaborated that with the use of these devices the health department will shift from traditional methods of screening to modern, tested that is a fool-proof method. She said that these devices will be available at 22 neonatal centres across Punjab, and screening will be carried out under the supervision of a paediatrician.
- As per the NSS0 survey, currently, there are 291 persons per one lakh population suffering from severe to profound hearing loss. Of these, a large percentage is children between the ages of 0 to 14 years.
Source : timesofindia