Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit in humans today. World over, it is the second leading cause for ‘Years lived with Disability (YLD)’ the first being depression. There are large number of hearing impaired young people in India which amounts to a severe loss of productivity, both physical and economic. An even larger percentage of our population suffers from milder degrees of hearing loss and unilateral (one sided) hearing loss against the above background, The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India launched the pilot phase of National Program for Prevention and Control of Deafness (from 2006 to 2008) in 10 States and 1 Union Territory in an effort to tackle the high incidence of deafness in the country, in view of the preventable nature of this disability.
Programme Execution & Expansion
The Programme was a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme during 11th Five Year Plan. However, in as per the 12th Five Year Plan, the Centre and the States will have to pool in resources financial norms of NRHM mutas mutandis.
The Programme was initiated in year 2007 on pilot mode in 25 districts of 11 State/UTs. The Programme has been expanded to 192 districts of 20 States/UTs. In the 12th Plan, it is proposed to expand the Programme to additional 200 districts in a phased manner probably covering all the States and Union territories by March, 2017.
Objectives of the Programme
- To prevent the avoidable hearing loss on account of disease or injury.
- Early identification, diagnosis and treatment of ear problems responsible for hearing loss and deafness
- To medically rehabilitate persons of all age groups, suffering with deafness.
- To strengthen the existing inter-sectoral linkages for continuity of the rehabilitation Program, for persons with deafness
- To develop institutional capacity for ear care services by providing support for equipment and material and training personnel.
Long term objective: To prevent and control major causes of hearing impairment and deafness, so as to reduce the total disease burden by 25% of the existing burden by the end of 12th Five Year Plan.
Components of the Programme
- Manpower training and development– For prevention, early identification and management of hearing impaired and deafness cases, training would be provided from medical college level specialists (ENT and Audiology) to grass root level workers.
- Capacity building – For the district hospital, community health centers and primary health center in respect of ENT/ Audiology infrastructure.
- Service provision – Early detection and management of hearing and speech impaired cases and rehabilitation, at different levels of health care delivery system.
- Awareness generation through IEC/BCC activities – For early identification of hearing impaired, especially children so that timely management of such cases is possible and to remove the stigma attached to deafness.
- To strengthen the service delivery for ear care
- To develop human resource for ear care services.
- To promote public awareness through appropriate and effective IEC strategies with special emphasis on prevention of deafness.
- To develop institutional capacity of the district hospitals, community health centers and primary health centers selected under the Programme.
Expected Benefits of the Programme
The Programme is expected to generate the following benefits:-
- Availability of various services like prevention, early identification, treatment, referral, rehabilitation etc. for hearing impairment and deafness as the primary health center / community health centers / district hospitals largely cater to their need.
- Decrease in the magnitude of hearing impaired persons.
- Decrease in the severity/ extent of ear morbidity or hearing impairment.
- Improved service network/referral system for the persons with ear morbidity/hearing impairment.
- Awareness creation among the health workers/grass root level workers through the primary health centre medical officers and district health officers, which will percolate to the lower level health workers functioning within the community.
- Capacity building at the district hospitals to ensure better care.
Source: National Health Portal