S. R. Goyal Government Hospital launches a Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program - Pinkcity News

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Monday, 11 November 2019

S. R. Goyal Government Hospital launches a Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program

  • ·    In India, more than 50 lakh people suffer from severe to profound hearing loss

  • ·    The state of Rajasthan has around 2.18 lakh individuals suffering from some form of hearing loss (2011 India Census)

Jaipur, November 11, 2019: A Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) program was launched today, at the S. R. Goyal Government Hospital. This program was inaugurated by Australian cricket legend and Cochlear'sGlobal Hearing Ambassador, Brett Leealong with Dr. Sudhir Bhandhari, Principal and Controller, SMS Medical College &attached hospitals and Dr. Jagdish Singh, Medical Superintendent, S. R. Goyal Govt. Hospital. The program aims to ensure that all newborn babies undergo a hearing screening test at birth.

 Speaking at the briefing, Brett Lee said, “Hearing is a basic human right. Every individual must have the right to enjoy the sounds of everyday life. Living with hearing loss has an impact on the ability to communicate. Thanks to advancements in technology, we now live in an era where hearing loss can be treated. But for treatment, identifying the issue is crucial. A small hearing screening test at birth can help identify any issues that a child may have, after whichimmediate remedial measures can be worked out which will help the child lead a regular life. I am very happy to see S.R. Goyal Government Hospital launch their hearing screening program today which will help so many young kids. I am glad that together we will ensure that everyone experiences the sounds of joy!”

From the466 million people suffering from hearing lossglobally, 34 million are children. Talking about the significance of newborn hearing screening, Dr.SudhirBhandhari, Principal and Controller, SMS Medical College said, “Helping people hear and live a happy life is such a priceless experience. I am honoured to be a part of this initiative which will be screening all newborns for hearing at birth. We aim to raise awareness about UNHS and believe paediatricians and all other healthcare professionals can play a crucial role in spreading awareness. We urge all state governments to mandate newborn hearing screening so that together, we can battle hearing loss and safeguard the future of our country.”
According to WHO estimates, by 2050 over 900 million people are likely to have disabling hearing loss. Dr. Jagdish Singh, Medical Superintendent, S. R. Goyal Govt. Hospital said, “Hearing loss can hamper growth and learning development in a child. The initial years of a child’s life are extremely crucial for their cognitive development. An infant’s overall development - be it physical, intellectual, academic, social or emotional is heavily dependent upon good hearing; and lack of it can lead to delayed mental growth, hampered spoken language skills and social isolation. Hearing screening can help recognize indications of hearing loss early on so adequate measures can be taken. We have experienced the significant impact of treatment options and hence are supporting the initiative which will ensure timely screening. We hope that the entire state of Rajasthan adopts the UNHS program and sets an example for other parts of the country to follow.”

Last year, Brett Lee had launched the UNHS program at JK Lon Hospital (attached to SMS Medical College). The programis spearheaded by Dr. Sitaraman, Head of Department, Paediatrics who has been instrumental in spreading awareness about UNHS through the team. As a result, every newborn at that hospital undergoes a hearing screening test.
While UNHS is widely practised in countries like the USA, Singapore, Australia and the UK; India is yet to set up an "all-inclusive” screening programme for newborn children.

Talking about his involvement with the cause, Brett Leesaid,“As a part of our awareness initiatives, I have been visiting countries all around the world and it is overwhelming to see how lives are positively impacted.Since 2015, I have visited several cities in India(Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chandigarh, Kochi, Trivandrum, Kozhikode, Amritsarand Guwahati), met many superstars and witnessed how Cochlear implants have transformed their lives.”
Currently, Kerala is the only state in ourcountry to have successfully achieved 98% UNHS success across government hospitals. The Kerala Social Security Mission has developeda software for collecting realtime data of newbornswhohave undergone screening.This data is archived and used by institutions such as District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs) and medical colleges during regular follow-ups and enabling themto provide advanced services to affected children and their families.

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