How Lagos is Helping Hearing Impaired School Children

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As part of efforts to reduce hearing impairment amongst school children, particularly pupils with significant hearing loss, the Lagos State Government in collaboration with a non-governmental organization, Hearmax Initiative, has provided hearing aids, an electronic device designed to improve hearing, to nine primary school pupils.

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 confirmatory tests for varying degrees of hearing loss.

Speaking during the presentation ceremony, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi noted that the pilot study on hearing impairment, the screening and eventual presentation of hearing aids to some of the pupils are in recognition of the consequences of hearing impairment amongst school children, particularly the negative impact it has on academic performance of School Children.

In his words: “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 Nine primary school pupils with hearing aids”.

“What we are doing in Lagos, under Mr. Governor’s instruction, is to set up a pilot study to identify certain primary schools in each local government and screen them to see if we can pick up pupils with hearing impairment”, he added.

The Commissioner explained that the pilot study involved the screening of 1,131 Pupils, adding that the screening provides an evaluation of the sensitivity of their sense of hearing.

“Out of the 1,131 pupils that were screened, 676 pupils had ear wax with foreign impaction while 14 pupils passed the confirmatory tests 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 the child to achieve full academic potential.

Abayomi said it is important for hearing and sight impediments to be diagnosed and corrected early to forestall the negative impact that may have on the lives of the children.

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 on ear and hearing care access.

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

Dr. Ibraheem Salako, the Executive Director, Hearmax Initiative, said his organization is happy to collaborate with the Lagos State Government to provide succor to the nine pupils, adding that the collaboration aligns with the vision of his organization to “improve lives, one ear at a time”.