Infant Hearing Screening From A Developing Country Context: Status From Two South African Provinces.

Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amisha Kanji, Luisa Petrocchi-Bartal, Kerryn Farr


Background: New-born hearing screening (NHS) programmes are an important step toward early detection of hearing loss and require careful examination and planning within each context. The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has recommended specific contexts in which to actualise early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) application. It is imperative therefore to explore if and how the current experience measures up to these recommendations.

Objective: to explore the feasibility of and the current status of the implementation of NHS at various levels of health care within the South African context.

Methods: A non-experimental, descriptive, cross-sectional survey research design was employed, using a combination of questionnaires and face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Participants comprised 30 primary health care (PHC) nursing managers across two provinces (Gauteng and North West) and 24 speech-language therapists and/or audiologists directly involved with NHS in secondary and tertiary levels of care within Gauteng.

Results: Current findings indicated lack of formal, standardised, and systematic EHDI implementation at all three levels of health care (primary, secondary and tertiary) with valuable reasons such as insufficient knowledge, lack of equipment, budgetary constraints, and human resource challenges being provided for this. Regardless of the level of care and their varied resource allocations and levels of specialisation; EHDI implementation as advocated by the HPCSA (2007) position statement currently does not seem feasible, unless the number of barriers identified are addressed, and NHS becomes mandated.

Conclusion: Current findings have highlighted the need for ensuring that context specific studies in EHDI are conducted to ensure that national position statements are sensitive to contextual challenges and therefore allow for evidence-based practice, particularly in developing countries where resource constraints dictate success and/or failure of any well-intentioned programme.

Authors' affiliations

Katijah Khoza-Shangase, University of the Witwatersrand

Amisha Kanji, University of the Witwatersrand

Luisa Petrocchi-Bartal, University of the Witwatersrand

Kerryn Farr, University of Witwatersrand

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2017;11(4):159-163.

Article History

Date submitted: 2017-12-22
Date published: 2017-12-22

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