The Federal Government of Nigeria has launched a National Policy and Strategic plan on Ear and Hearing Care. The document would serve as a blueprint to guide the activities geared towards preventing Ear diseases and Hearing loss, early detection and intervention, rehabilitation and providing support services to people living with hearing loss in Nigeria.
Speaking at the launching, held in Abuja, recently, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole noted that Ear disease and Hearing loss is prevalent globally, with low and middle income countries accounting for about 80% of hearing loss disease burden according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to him ‘’ the global prevalence of disabling hearing loss is estimated to have increased from 360 Million to 466 Million ,similarly ,the prevalence in Nigeria increased from 7.3 Million to 8.5 Million within a decade’’.
He informed that ‘’the National Policy and Strategic Plan for Ear and Hearing Care has been developed in line with the National Strategic Health Development Plan II ,it is a product of extensive and comprehensive participation of relevant stakeholders within the public and private sectors, drawn from the entire country’’.
He further said that ‘’ we invited experts from FMOH, Tertiary Hospitals ,United Nation Agencies Non- Governmental Organisation and other relevant Organisation’’.
‘’ The National Policy and Strategic Health Plan proposes comprehensive ,evidence based interventions to prevent ,identify and treat ear diseases and hearing loss through the Nigerian Health system.
The Minister appreciated the Starkey Hearing Foundation for championing this course both financially and technically, the Technical Working Group (TWG) and other relevant Stakeholders for developing the document.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaiziz Abdullahi said that prevention and early identification through a Public Health approach was the most effective alternative in the fight against hearing loss.
‘’That is why a policy/plan document such as this is the most appropriate response to prevent living with hearing loss in a sustainable way, he added.
In his remarks, the Founder Starkey Hearing Foundation, Mr. William Austin pledged that the Foundation would provide screening machine and at no cost for school children across the country from the year 2019.
Also speaking the Director, Global Health/ Research (Starkey Hearing Foundation), Dr. Luqman Lawal, commended the FMOH and other Relevant Stakeholders for their support towards developing the policy document.
Mrs. Boade Akinola
Director, Media and Public Relations