CHED lauds joint PH-US pro­ject on early new­born screen­ing vs hear­ing loss

Manila Bulletin - - National News - By MERLINA HER­NANDO-MALIPOT

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.

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