Lagos Govt Partners Hearmax, Screens, Offers  Ear Care To Over 1,000 Pupils

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By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos

Lagos State Government in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation, Hearmax Initiative, has provided hearing aids to nine primary school pupils.

The hearing aids is an electronic device designed to improve hearing.

The intervention is part of efforts by the government to reduce hearing difficulty among school children, especially pupils who are suffering from hearing loss.

 The action of the government and it’s partner was disclosed by the state’s Ministry of Health in a statement issued on 21st September 2022.

“The pupils who are part of over 1000 school children screened by the Lagos State Ministry of Health during a pilot study on hearing impairment commissioned on the request of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in selected primary schools in Lagos, were presented with hearing aids after a confirmatory test for varying degrees of hearing loss,” Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, Director of Public Affairs in the ministry, said. .

Ogunbanwo stated that during the presentation ceremony, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that the pilot study on hearing impairment, the screening and eventual presentation of hearing aids to pupils is in recognition of the consequences of hearing impairment amongst school children particularly the negative impact it has on academic performance.

“Hearing impairment amongst children most often continues undetected and eventually leads to perennial or permanent negative impacts on their academic performance. It is in recognition of the consequences of hearing impairment that the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Health is collaborating with the Hearmax initiative to provide primary school pupils with hearing aids.

“So what we are doing in Lagos now, under Mr Governor’s instruction, is to set up a pilot study to go into our primary schools and to identify certain primary schools in each local government and screen the children in the school to see if we can pick up any children with hearing impairment,” Abayomi explained.

The commissioner pointed out that the pilot study on hearing impairment amongst pupils of primary schools involved the screening of 1,131 students in selected primary schools for hearing loss, adding that the screening provides an evaluation of the sensitivity of the students’ sense of hearing.

“Out of the 1,131 pupils that were screened, 676 pupils had wax with foreign impaction while 14 pupils passed the confirmatory test for varying degrees of hearing loss, and nine of them were suitable for hearing aids. So we are here presenting the hearing aids to the affected pupils following relevant tests and confirmation of suitability”, Abayomi said.

While noting that good eyesight and hearing are essential for a child to achieve academic potential, the Commissioner noted that the Lagos State Government embarked on the initiative in order to improve the academic performance of pupils with hearing impairment by advancing hearing health amongst school children.

Abayomi stressed the need for hearing and sight impediments to be picked up and corrected early to forestall the negative impact it may have in the life of children particularly in academics and social life.

“If you have a hearing impairment or sight impediment, then if it can be corrected, it needs to be corrected early and quickly, otherwise it will have a long lasting impact on your life. So for children, when they are having a problem with hearing or seeing, it will obviously affect their academic performance. And if they drop back in class or lose confidence in their ability to learn, then it can affect them emotionally for the rest of their lives”, he said. 

 Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, noted that the Lagos State Government is poised to reduce the incidences and negative impact of hearing loss amongst citizens by promoting advocacy and awareness on ear and hearing care access.

Ogboye who presented the hearing aids to the affected pupils alongside with the Commissioner congratulated beneficiaries of the aid and their parents advising that they take good care of the device for their own benefit.

The Executive Director, Hearmax initiative, Dr. Ibraheem Salako said his organisation is happy to collaborate with the Lagos State Government to provide succour to the nine pupils. He added that the collaboration aligns with the vision of his organisation to “improve lives, one ear at a time”.

“Hearing loss happens to be a silent disorder which often goes unnoticed in children and may result in long lasting academic, social, emotional, and behavioural challenges. Today we are very excited to be a part of this program and today in partnership with the Lagos State government we were able to screen over 1000 children across all local government areas and provide ear caring services for over 600 children”, he said.

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