FG plans free ear screening for 1m students

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By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Federal Government has commenced plans for a free ear screening program targeted at one million students in public schools across the country.

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The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known at the weekend while inaugurating a Technical Working Group (TWG) on ear care and hearing health in Nigeria in Abuja

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole

He urged the TWG to come up with other actionable plan and pathways towards reducing preventable hearing losses, improving access to hearing health professionals, and provision of rehabilitative services to citizens with hearing impairment, stressing that “the relationship between hearing and speaking in citizens’ existence and well-being cannot be overemphasized.’’

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He also tasked the group to develop a National Strategic Plan on Ear Health Care and Community Based Hearing Healthcare programs which would improve ear care for all across the country.

He said: “I think we are ready to really move forward in developing the national strategic policy and plan on hear healthcare which, to me, is very important to us as a nation.

“At the end, I can assure you that once you have a national group policy and plan, we will be able to go with it and if you deliver before we commence the implementation of the 2019 budget, we should be able to include it in the 2019 budget.”

Adewole further assured the TWG of Federal Government’s commitment towards their task; pointing out that the Group was expected to complete it assignment within Four (4) Months.

He disclosed that the Starkey Hearing Foundation had graciously agreed to sponsor the TWG activities to ensure timely Completion of the National Assignment.

The Minister spelt out Terms of Reference (TOR) for the TWG to include: “To develop a National Ear Health Policy; to develop a National Strategic Plan for ear care; to develop and implement the screening plan for ear screening in public schools across the country.

In his welcome address, the Director, Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Joseph Amedu, said that members of the TWG were specialists in the field of Ear Care and Hearing Health.

He observed that there was need for the Group to fast track all activities towards achieving results for the betterment of Nigerians.

Responding on behalf of the TWG, Co – Chairman and Director, Global Health/ Research (Starkey Hearing Foundation),Dr. Luqman Lawal, pledged that the Group was committed to the task ahead and would deliver on her mandate.