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Official launch of new early intervention programme in Tanzania

9 October 2019

 JOA logoSense International Tanzania has officially launched the country’s first-ever screening and early intervention programme for children with deafblindness and multi-sensory impairments.

The three-year programme, funded by Jersey Overseas Aid, was launched at Yombo Vituka Health Centre in Dar es Salaam. Representatives from the medical community and local Government attended the event, including Temeke District Commissioner Felix Lyaniva as guest of honour.

The pilot programme, which follows similar projects in Kenya and Uganda, aims to screen over 72,000 children for vision and hearing impairments, and provides ongoing support for children with deafblindness and multi-sensory impairments. It is hoped the programme will eventually be expanded across all regions in Tanzania.

Naomi Lugoe, Director of Sense International Tanzania, said: “Tanzania currently does not provide early screening and intervention services. This means that many Group of people at launch looking into camerachildren do not receive early screening and diagnosis or proper health interventions, leading to poor overall health outcomes. Parents often are not aware of their child’s impairment and the important role they could play in the stimulation and development of their child.

“Health and educational providers play a vital role in efforts to understand the impact of deafblindness on early development, high risk conditions and diagnoses associated with pediatric deafblindness, as well as the warning signs of early-onset hearing and vision loss.”

Training is now underway for staff to learn how to use screening equipment at four new permanent screening centres in Dar es Salaam, at Yombo Vituka, Mbagala Round Table, Mbande and Temeke hospitals. Children from the age of 0 can be screened to find out if they have hearing or vision challenges and referred for further treatment once diagnosed.

Sensory screening and early intervention, such as physiotherapy or sensory stimulation, is critical to improve overall health and developmental outcomes at the earliest opportunity.

Group of people at launch with their arms in the air, smiling and celebratingFelix Lyaniva, Temeke District Commissioner, said: “Local Government authorities should make sure that they educate parents on this service and encourage parents to bring their children for screening. Early interventions will help children to get the required treatment and grow healthily.”

John Makange, a representative of the Ministry of Health, said: “The ministry is well committed to support the project. We will work tirelessly to ensure that children benefit from this programme.”

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First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019