'Centre has turned its focus on hearing impaired'

'Centre has turned its focus on hearing impaired'

Union addl secretary promises more grants in future

'Centre has turned its focus on hearing impaired'

Additional Secretary to the Union Health Ministry, A K Panda, on Saturday asserted that the Centre had shifted its focus on alleviating the condition of the hearing impaired in the country.

Addressing the gathering of experts and students at the 49th anniversary of All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), and the inauguration of its golden jubilee year, in the city, Panda recalled the words of Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan who is also a ENT surgeon. The minister had said the focus on deafness control programme had to be scaled up in a big way, he said.

Panda promised that though two years of 12th five year plan had elapsed, there would be quantum jump in the allocation of funds towards addressing the travails of hearing impaired in the coming days. The hike in funds was inevitable, as the budgetary allocation in the area of hearing impaired was measly when compared to the whopping Rs 3,000 crore allocated for blindness control programme.

Panda was of the opinion that institutes like AIISH had to be extended to many other states to cater to the dedicated tribe. He also said he would write to all the other States to make use of the facilities available in AIISH, as not many are aware of it.

Chairperson, Rehabilitation Council of India, New Delhi, Sudesh Mukhopadhyay mooted equal opportunity for women in availing the benefits meant for specially-abled. She advocated for encouraging experts in the realm to shift their focus to rural areas too, as people suffering from various disabilities in remote areas were alienated from obtaining the best of the health facilities.

Taking into account the current developments, Mukhopadhyay said that when students suffering from Down’s Syndrome were clearing 10th grade exams, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they take to higher studies in the future.

Director of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, Gautam Biswas, stressed on sharing knowledge and expertise in improving the facilities, irrespective of fields.

Assistive device

HoD, Electronics, Ajish K Abraham who has devised the assistive device for museum visitors with hearing impaired said that in the next level, the device would be aimed at deaf persons. As a token of gesture, a device was handed over to Scientist in-charge of Regional Museum for Natural History (RMNH), to facilitate users with hearing impairment, on a pilot basis. Parent Infant programme and Swallowing Disorders Laboratory were also launched to mark the 50th year of the Institute.

MoUs signed

To expand the knowledge base to contribute to the pool of analysts, the Institute entered into an academic understanding to offer four year graduate programmes at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal, and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College (NSCBMC), Jabalpur. The Institute also signed an MoU with IIT, Guwahati, for developing technology to improve the quality of life of those affected by cleft lip and palate population.