Don calls for strict enforcement of ear, hearing policy to tackle hearing loss

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By Felicia Imohimi

Prof. Titus Ibekwe, an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon, has urged all tiers of government to enforce the 2018 Ear and Hearing Care (EHC) Policy to combat huge disease burden associated with hearing loss.

Ibekwe made this call at the 44th inaugural lecture of UniAbuja in Abuja titled “Sound, Wind and Whisper: A Journey in Search for Harmony in Otorhinolaryngology.”

Ibekwe, the Inaugural Lecturer, is a Consultant Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) Surgeon at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital and Chairman-elect (2024) of International Advisory Board American Academy of Otorhinolaryngology.

He said enforcement of such policy could commence by making the environment safe against noise pollution, adding that such pollution could impair not only hearing but also affect the functions of other organs in the body.

“The enforcement of EHC policy will provide for hearing assistive devices especially hearing aids freely or supported by health insurance to every hearing-impaired child or adult.

“Awareness and effective public health programmes must be supported by government and global aid partners towards eradication of common diseases such as chronic supportive otitis media, meningitis, torch infections and Lassa fever.’’

The don also suggested that the quality of ante-natal, delivery and post-natal care must be matched with hearing screening of newborn babies in order to detect hearing defects of any form.

He emphasised that such screening would ensure the commencement of rehabilitation prior to discharge from hospital.

Ibekwe said implementation of such practice would ensure quality of life from conception through birth, life through death.

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“Efforts through genetics against the transmission of deaf genes should be intensified.

“These actionable recommendations are tailored towards the achievement of serviceable ear, nose and throat; and holistic health care in the country, “he said.

Dr Tanko Sununu, Minister of State for Education, commended the lecturer for his laudable presentation and described his recommendation on noise pollution as actionable.

Sununu, who identified investment in prevention of noise pollution as far cheaper than investing in diagnosing and treatment of those with hearing impairment, said there is need for government do everything possible to implement EHC policy.

“The good news is that we have a president who has the commitment to right the wrong in addressing issues of education, health, agriculture, economy among others for the well-being of the citizens,” he said.

Also, Prof Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah, Vice Chancellor of the university, commended Ibekwe for his immense contributions to the development of ENT profession among others in the school.

Represented by Prof. Aisha Maikudi, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics in the university, Na’allah described Ibekwe as a beacon of academic excellence.

He said his commitment had left an indelible mark on both students and colleagues.

“His contributions have not only advanced the theoretical foundation of his discipline but an overall impact of world problems, demonstrating the rear ability to bridge the gap between academia and practical occupation.

“He is renowned for his unwavering dedication to teaching and mentorship; fostering an environment of intellectual curiosity,”he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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