“Commence National Hearing Screening For All Newborns” – Professor Lasisi Urges Federal Government

By: Aduwo Ayodele


A Professor of Molecular Epidemiology of Otitis Media and Hearing Genetics in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology of the Faculty of Clinical Sciences at the University of Ibadan,
Professor Akeem Olawale Lasisi on Thursday, January 11, 2024, recommended that the Federal Government of Nigeria should give due consideration to the empowerment of the Nigerian National Hearing Policy.

The inaugural lecturer, Professor Akeem Lasisi gave this recommendation, while delivering the 538th Inaugural Lecture of the University, entitled “Genes, Jinns, Jinx and Peter’s Trial – Untangling the Deafness Knots”

The Don said the policy if strengthened would assist in identifying infants and young children with hearing loss at an early stage, in a bid to ensure timely and effective rehabilitation.

Professor Lasisi also has called for the founding and strengthening of a National Committee on Ear and Hearing to create strong advocacy and bring pressure to bear on the policymakers and Government, to take into consideration the needs of deaf people in policy formulation.

Professor Lasisi stressed on the need for Government to synergise with the Nigeria National Association for the Deaf and the Nigerian Advisory Council for the Deaf in a bid to truly effect a significant impact on the conditions of service for the deaf.

The inaugural Lecturer also advocated the commencement of national hearing screening for all newborns; the inclusion of the provision of hearing aids in the National Health Insurance Scheme, and the provision of basic facilities for the diagnosis of hearing loss.

He lamented that presently most of the gene sequencing methods are sourced from foreign countries and stressed the need for the establishment of a Multidisciplinary Molecular genetic laboratory, especially in Ibadan to blaze the trail of cutting edge research in Nigeria.

The inaugural lecturer submitted that hearing impairment is complex as it has a substantial impact on the quality of life and activities of daily living.

He said hearing loss nearly always develops gradually, so patients do not see it as a dramatic health problem requiring urgent intervention, and in the majority of cases, they are not aware of milder hearing loss.

According to Professor Lasisi, global reports from the World Health Organisation reveal that hearing loss is among the five leading causes of Years Lived with Disability (YLD) adding that the search for the causes of deafness and otitis media remains a big challenge in Africa due to infrastructure deficits.

Credit – Directorate of Public Communication

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