In order to diagnose hearing impairment at birth, Punjab Government on Wednesday launched ‘Universal Newborn Hearing Screening’ (UNHS) with SOHUM Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) Device at Mother & Childcare Hospital, at District Hospital Ropar.
Giving details here, Director Health & Family Welfare Department Dr. OP Gojra said that to fulfill this objective, the Punjab Government has commenced ‘Universal Newborn Hearing Screening’ .
Punjab is the first state in the country and only unit in Entire South East Asia to take a step towards Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) with Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) SOHUM. The novel newborn hearing screening program is designed to enable newborn hearing screening across Punjab so as to timely identify children with hearing loss and refer them for intervention to save the children from lifelong hearing & speech loss also resulting in mental milestones delay disability.
Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy Commissioner Rupnagar Ms. Sonali Giri said that Universal Newborn Hearing Screening will be conducted at the Neonatal Station of the District Hospital by trained staff under the supervision of pediatrician of the District Hospital by SOHUM (AABR) and reviewed by DNO-NPPCD. She said that there after referral pathways for congenitally deaf children for Cochlear implant will be develop through RBSK thereby enabling a child to live a normal life.
State Programme Officer, NPPCD, Dr. Baljit Kaur said that this initiative will be a GAME CHANGER in the history of health care services in Punjab as well as in India. “Together We will make the Difference for congenital Hearing Loss”. She said that historically clinical survey of hearing loss in infants and young children was limited to observation of behavioral response to a sound such as ringing bell introduced out of the direct vision of child. Earlier, diagnosis of hearing loss in population was depended on this method. Typically occur when the child demonstrates a significant and irreversible language delay.
She said that SOHUM based on the advanced Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) technology is intended for use especially for mass screening of neonates for hearing impairment in resource constrained settings. SOHUM is the AABR (Automated Auditory Brainstem Response) system to screen newborns & young children for hearing loss with high sensitivity and specificity. This is the gold standard technology for newborn hearing screening & is specially designed for conditions of India, & any healthcare professional can easily use the device with short training.
Dr. Taranjot Kaur ENT Specialist and nodal officer NPPCD said that the the novel newborn hearing screening program is designed to enable newborn hearing screening program across all districts of Punjab so as to timely identify children with hearing loss and refer them for intervention to save the children from lifelong speech loss and mental delay disability.
She said that early identification, diagnosis and treatment of ear problems responsible for hearing loss and deafness, is one of the chief objective of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD) and now, health department is competent to diagnose and treat this deficiency in newborn babies.
CJM Mr Manav, Civil Surgeon Dr. Parminder Kumar, SMO Ropar Dr. Tarlochan Singh, SMO Anandpur Sahib Dr. Charanjeet Kumar, SMO Nurpurbedi Dr. Vidhan Chander and other Senior Officers of health department and district administration were also present on the occasion.