CHED lauds joint PH-US project on early newborn screening vs hearing loss
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) lauded the development of an early detection device for Filipino infants to prevent hearing loss by researchers from the Philippines and the United States of America.
CHED said that the researchers from the University of the Philippines – Manila (UP Manila) and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) are developing better newborn hearing screening technologies – which will “pave way for the early detection of hearing impairment among Filipino infants.”
Called the “Hearing for Life: Increasing the Rates of Newborn Hearing Screening with Novel Technologies and Telehealth” (HeLe Project), CHED said that the project is “set to produce an innovative hearing screening device and telehealth technologies.”
This will include e-learning modules for training newborn hearing screeners and users, an electronic medical record module for newborn hearing screening, a tele-referral system, and a newborn hearing screening registry.
“These will allow community-based early hearing screening in rural health units (RHUs) that are easily and locally accessible,” the Commission added.
The “HeLe Project” is funded by the CHED through the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI) Project. The CHED-PCARI is a government initiative that aims to advance the country’s capacity for research and development by addressing problems related to health innovation and translational medicine (HITM) and information infrastructure development (IID).
In 2013, a study led by HeLe Project Head Dr. Charlotte Chiong, director of the Newborn Hearing Screening Reference Center (NHSRC) at the UP Manila National Institutes of Health found that “at least 8 profoundly hearing deaf babies are born every day in the Philippines or one deaf baby born every three hours.” Statistics, however, “show that less than 10 percent of Filipino babies are screened annually for hearing loss due to limited number of facilities and the high cost of screening devices.”
Lead researcher Dr. Philip Fullante said the HeLe hearing screening device, together with the telehealth technologies, is envisioned to be a cost-effective model for conducting newborn hearing screening that will be affordable to the government. “This will enable the local governments to deploy the system to RHUs, capturing close to 100 percent, if not all of the live births in the country for newborn hearing screening,” he explained.