LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — More Pangasinan babies may now go through hearing screening after the Department of Health (DOH) Ilocos Region donated newborn hearing screening machines to five Pangasinan government-run community hospitals.
The donation was part of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program for the prevention, early diagnosis, and intervention of hearing loss among infants and newborns, according to the DOH.
The Pangasinan government health facilities given the machines were the community hospitals in the towns of Bolinao, Umingan, Dasol, Manaoag, and Pozorrubio.
Similar machines were also donated to the Piddig District Hospital, and Doña Josefa Edralin Marcos District Hospital, both in Ilocos Norte province; and Ilocos Sur province’s district hospitals in the towns of Narvacan, Cervantes, and Salcedo.
The hearing screening devices are worth ₱412,500 each, including its handheld unit, cradle, carrying bag, probe cord, and thermal printer.
Dr. Dalvie Casilang, chief of the Pangasinan hospital management system office, said that the newborn hearing screening machines “mean so much and could spell a huge difference” in the lives of people who may have been born with hearing concerns.
“Through early detection, lives could change,” Casilang said.
Newborn hearing screening is a test to tell if a baby might have hearing loss.
“In Pangasinan, our commitment to improve the services in our hospitals does not end with passively waiting for donations. We have been proactive in identifying ways on how we can improve the availability of medical machines and equipment in our hospitals,” Casilang said.
“Gradually, we will expand the services available in our hospitals to better take care of our fellow Pangasinenses,” he added.
DOH Regional Director Paula Paz Sydiongco said that it was important for all infants to have hearing screening especially during their early development, because it can affect their ability to communicate effectively.
“Hearing is necessary in the speech development and mental growth of a child,” said Sydiongco.
DOH Assistant Regional Director Rodolfo Antonio Albornoz said that with newborn hearing screening units set up in various public health facilities in the region, it will now be possible to have a regional newborn hearing registry.
“This is to enable us to know how many infants have been screened, detected and treated. And from these data we can determine the number of newborns affected by hearing loss and we can provide them the immediate intervention and treatment,” Albornoz said.
Cyrus Jed Ramos, regional coordinator for newborn screening, said that a total of 16,884 infants had been screened from January 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023.
“We are encouraging mothers of newborns to submit your child to hearing screening test to ensure their health and safety,” Ramos said.