Hearing health checks focus on young children
Pre-school children across Upolu have received free hearing checks across the island over the past two weeks.
The hearing programme was administered by the non-government organisation Senese Inclusive Education Support Services, in partnership with the Civil Society Support Program (C.S.S.P.).
The programme focused on early detection and intervention to prevent children from developing serious hearing complications into adulthood.
The project’s aim was to identify children with suspected hearing impairments and ensure they were medically addressed.
A similar programme was rolled out four years ago but geared towards primary schools.
The first round was highly successful, the community health provider said, and identified several students with hearing problems and provided them with the support and services they needed.
The acting Director of Senese, Sagato Vaoliko Konelio, said that since the programme’s first day it has been well received by school Principals, parents and communities, most of whom realise the importance of hearing health.
"People do not realize the importance of ensuring our children clean their ears regularly,” Sagato said via email.
"Often at times parents delay bringing in their children for treatment until it is too late, which can result in their child losing their hearing.
"That's why early detection, intervention and prevention is crucial.
"During the course of the two weeks, our team visited 26 pre-schools and screened 1,087 children.
“From this total, 128 children are referred to [...the] hospital for further assessment and medical treatments while 54 are referred to Senese for full hearing tests.
"It was evident that about 75 [per cent] of children screened had wax blocking either one or both ears."
"The screening for pre-school in Savaii and the remaining school in Upolu in the second term so children will have access to this services regardless of where they are. It is our hope to cover all schools.”
Konelio acknowledged support from the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the C.S.S.P. for funding the nation-wide initiative.
"The generous contribution has enabled us to reach out to young children near and far in the community,” he said.
“Senese continues to provide support for the children and all those with hearing difficulties in Samoa through its Hearing Services Program in partnership with the [Ear, Nose and Throat] department at the National Hospital."