Cuba and Ecuador United in the Fight Against Hearing Impairment

Cuba and Ecuador United in the Fight Against Hearing Impairment

Aug. 3 (RHC) – It is estimated that today one third of world population and 75% of people in industrialized cities have some degree of hearing loss caused by exposure to high intensity sounds.

In this realm, Cuba has developed a broad screening of its population from an early age because, as experts say, if a child is born with hearing loss and is not treated in time, he or she will have difficulties in language development, in fully participating in society and will not develop to his/her full human potential.

This has enabled these children to receive specialized medical care and also be incorporated into special education centers to achieve more inclusion in society.

Cuba treasures a vast experience in this field, which is being offered to Ecuador, which has a high percent of infants born with congenital hearing malformations.

There is a free early detection of hearing impairment and school program currently implemented in the Andean country, created by the will of the Ecuadorian government with Cuban technology and training.

This work is a result of the Manuela Espejo humanitarian mission, which initiated the collaboration and advice of Cuba on all disability issues, particularly, on hearing impairments.

Cuban and Ecuadorian specialists visited homes in 24 provinces to determine existing disability cases and to implement a caring program for this population sector, marginalized by decades of neo-liberal policies.

The study found that hearing impairment is the second leading cause of disability, with a high prevalence nationwide. Hence, with the solidarity of Cuba the installation of hundreds of audiometric equipments in the 24 provinces began two years ago.

At the same time, a dozen Cuban professionals were given the task of training over 600 local doctors and technicians who will operate these devices.

As of June, some 50,000 people with hearing problems were diagnosed and the aspiration is to evaluate 300,000 patients, whose next step would be the prosthetic treatment and cochlear implants in critical cases.

Thus, Correa’s government is working hard to ensure, throughout the country, the protection of the rights of people with disabilities. Hence, in the new Constitution adopted in 2008, the needs of this population sector are fully recognized and policies are implemented in their favor.