UAE hospitals launch programme to detect hearing problems in babies

ABU DHABI // Health authorities are setting up a programme to screen newborns for hearing disorders.

The programme will include all public and private hospitals in all medical districts, the Ministry of Health announced at a seminar.

“It is our responsibility to provide care for both women and children by adopting the best health practices in this field,” said Amina Al Qubaisi, head of the ministry’s maternity and childhood division.

The ministry organised a seminar for audio and ear, nose and threat specialists and nurses in hospitals in the Northern Emirates to take preliminary steps towards enacting the programme.

The seminar also addressed challenges of applying the screening in some government hospitals in these emirates.

Genetics was the main cause of hearing loss in children, with genetic mutations occurring while the embryo was developing, said Dr Mohammed Salah, genetic diseases consultant at the ministry.

It is important to provide genetic counselling to the children’s families about the hearing disorders to determine the main causes, he said.

Early screening and treatment was crucial to avoid negative impacts on children’s growth, said Dr Mohammed Magdy Zakaria, head of the ear, nose and throat division at Umm Al Quwain Hospital.

Also discussed were ways of implementing the early screening programme.

Coordinators have been assigned in each hospital to work with the central administration, the ministry said.

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