Screening for neonatal deafness in resource-poor countries: challenges and solutions
Bolajoko O Olusanya
Centre for Healthy Start Initiative, Ikoyi, Nigeria
Abstract: Newborn or neonatal hearing screening (NHS) is offered routinely in high-income countries as an essential and mandatory intervention for the early detection of infants with permanent congenital or early-onset hearing loss. However, NHS is rarely offered presently in the vast majority of low- and middle-income countries, which account for over 80% of the incidence and burden of permanent congenital or early-onset hearing loss worldwide. This review provides an overview of the current status of NHS programs in the most developmentally disadvantaged low-and middle-income countries with a per capita income of approximately US$6,000 or less against the backdrop of relevant recommendations for effective NHS programs. It highlights the key obstacles to the delivery and uptake of NHS services based on a review of available literature from the eligible countries. It proposes strategies for addressing these challenges and examines the crucial role of pediatricians and primary care physicians in providing leadership for the requisite multidisciplinary efforts to develop and promote effective NHS services in low- and middle-income countries.
Keywords: early detection, intervention, newborn screening, early childhood development, developing countries
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