First visual and hearing screening programme established for children in Uganda
27 April 2017
Uganda's Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Sense International, has established the first visual and hearing screening programme for children with multisensory impairments between 0-‐3 years.
Children born with complex visual and hearing impairments will have improved developmental outcomes, through accessing a specialist early intervention health service.
The Early Interventions program is a free service for all children aged 0-‐3 years and is available at Entebbe Hospital, Wakiso, Ndejje and Kasangati Health Centre IVs, from Monday to Friday.
This program is expected to make a tremendous contribution towards reducing child mortality and will provide data for Government of Uganda to introduce Rubella vaccine in the routine vaccination schedule.
Rubella virus often causes visual and hearing impairments including congenital defects of the heart if exposure of the virus to the pregnant mother occurs within three months of pregnancy.
With funding support from DFID, this project is currently being piloted in Wakiso district and after 3 years (2016-‐2019) the Government of Uganda will roll it out to other health facilities across the country depending on the outcomes.
Under this program, the Ministry of Health recruited Occupational Therapists who are based at each of the health facilities to oversee the daily program activities, which include; screening of children, providing early intervention therapy and management of database and reports as well as training of health workers who carry out hearing and visual screening. Early Intervention units equipped with hearing and visual screening and therapy equipment have been established at each of these health facilities.
In Uganda, there are limited screening and Early Interventions (EI) services for children with sensory and multi-‐sensory impairments. New-‐born babies are not screened for visual and hearing impairments, nor are they provided with essential and appropriate support in the crucial early years of development.
This project will therefore ensure that children born with complex sensory impairments have improved developmental outcomes, through accessing a specialist early intervention and rehabilitation health service.
The programme will also provide data on the prevalence of Congenital Rubella Syndrome and associated impairments required by Government and other stakeholders to introduce the Rubella Vaccination at the public health facilities, which is not currently being provided and yet required to prevent congenital impairments in children.
The Ministry of Health, working with Sense international, therefore calls upon all stakeholders to support the successful implementation and eventual replication of this program in all major health facilities across the country.
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About Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA)
Jersey has been funding international aid and development since 1968, but the current ‘Jersey Overseas Aid Commission’ was established by law in 2005.
It is an independent body within the responsibilities of the Chief Minister. It is governed by three States Commissioners and three non-States Commissioners, all of whom are appointed by the States of Jersey. Its day-to-day operations are managed by a full-time Executive Director and an Administrative Officer.
First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 4 April 2018