Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed state officials to initiate a massive screening programme to identify sight and hearing defects in citizens, especially children, and initiate treatment procedures for those affected.
Taking part in a review meeting with Principal Secretary of Health Anil Kumar Singhal, Commissioner of Health Katamaneni Bhaskar and other officials on cochlear implants for hearing defects, the CM said that a special programme for the implants should be developed similar to YSR Kanti Velugu – an eye screening programme – and conduct surgeries by detecting the problems at an early stage.
Reddy said the government’s goal was to help people with disabilities and support them by offering ideal treatment. The officials also discussed preventive measures taken by countries like the US, Britain, Australia in rectifying hearing and speech disorders.
The CM said that those identified in the screening should be offered a holistic treatment through full-scale operations. Screening of newborns, infants and school children should also be undertaken. Those who are found to have hearing and speech defects should undergo surgeries similar to those conducted under YSR Kanti Velugu.
The officials discussed integrating the deaf and dumb screening with the vaccination programme and conducting phonological tests for school students as well, to detect hearing loss in advance and treat it appropriately.
The Chief Minister emphasised performing operations with MRI Compatibility and equip Primary Health Centers-PHCs and 104 MMUs with suitable equipment for conducting the screenings.
He also instructed the officials to prepare a comprehensive plan for the screening programme for early detection and told to certify children in whom no defects were found after the tests.
Reddy said all the government hospitals in the state should be equipped to conduct cochlear implant surgeries.
He directed the officials to take up awareness campaigns and educate the public on these procedures. The Chief Minister told the officials to resume eye surgeries under YSR Kanti Velugu, which were halted due to Covid-19 pandemic.