Prevention of blindness and deafness

National programmes for prevention of deafness
and hearing impairment

Prevention of deafness and hearing impairment

Mopping pus from the ear of a child with middle ear infection. If not properly treated, this may lead to hearing impairment
Photo: Piet Van Hasselt/CBM

We wish to encourage and assist countries to devise and implement national programmes for prevention of deafness and hearing impairment where none exist, or to strengthen an existing programme. Such programmes would be integrated in the country's national health programme and could include several or all of the elements listed in previous pages. One of the first steps in the process would be the convening of a national workshop on prevention and the appointment of a national co-ordinator and committee.

In preparation for the development of national programmes in the South-East Asian Region of WHO, the Regional Office developed a protocol for member states in the region to gather data on infrastructure and health services for the prevention and control of deafness. The results were presented at a meeting in Colombo in 2003, and this led to the formation of a regional forum for prevention and control of deafness and hearing impairment, and a new regional initiative, Sound Hearing 2030.

Three more of the six WHO Regional Offices have held workshops on the prevention of deafness and hearing impairment and reports of these workshops are available.