November 22nd, 2021 ― Doha: Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has launched an early hearing detection and intervention program for newborns in Gaza, with a budget of $647,000.
It was announced during a workshop held in Gaza City, in the presence of representatives of the program’s partners the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as well as a number of institutions concerned with health care and disability in Gaza governorates.
At the beginning of the workshop, Dr. Akram Nassar, Head of QRCS’s representation office in Gaza, said the launch of this program came as a result of extensive work done by QRCS for over three years now. For the first time in Gaza, hearing detection and intervention services for newborns are available at primary health care centers, which helps to increase the chances of rehabilitation of the social integration of patients, as well as minimize the costs of rehabilitation.
According to him, the real success is the design and linkage of the program to the vaccination process at 10 primary health care centers of MOH and UNRWA, to ensure optimal coverage and outreach to as many cases as possible. Later on, the program is planned to transform into a comprehensive national program that will cover all Gaza centers in the future.
He stressed that the organizers, mainly MOH, were in the process of developing a national hearing detection protocol, to serve as a reference for workers in the field. A computerized program was developed to link all the centers involved in the project, to ensure effective communication and data management, storage, and analysis. This will provide decision-makers with necessary information to frame and update health policies in the coming period.
Dr. Abdul-Latif Al-Hajj, Director-General of International Cooperation at Palestine’s MOH, said the ministry continued its work in partnership with QRCS to ensure the success of these significant interventions. This includes training local staff at primary health care centers in methods of early examination and providing centers with hearing examination equipment, with a view to helping to identify the cases with hearing disability and facilitating their rehabilitation and social integration.
In his remarks about the reality of hearing disability in Gaza, Naim Kabaja, Executive Director of Atfaluna Association for the Deaf in Gaza, gave an overview of the main problems suffered by the people with hearing disability in Gaza, including severe living conditions due to blockade and repeated wars, which result in considerable difficulty of adaption and integration.
He pointed out that early detection of hearing disabilities helped to ensure the rehabilitation, training, and treatment that would achieve healthy development of children with hearing disability. To him, the new program is a serious step towards a well-designed hearing detection and examination system in Gaza.
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About Qatar Red Crescent (QRCS)
Established in 1978, Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is a humanitarian volunteering organization that aims to assist and empower vulnerable individuals and communities without partiality or discrimination.
QRCS is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which consists of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and 191 National Societies. QRCS is also a member of several GCC, Arab, and Islamic organizations, such as the Islamic Committee of International Crescent and the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organization (ARCO). In this legally recognized capacity, QRCS has access to disaster and conflict zones, thus serving as an auxiliary to the State of Qatar in its humanitarian efforts — a role that distinguishes it from other local charities and NGOs.
QRCS operates both locally and internationally and has ongoing international relief and development projects in a number of countries throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. QRCS's humanitarian actions include providing support in disaster preparedness, disaster response, risk reduction, and disaster recovery. To mitigate the impact of disasters and improve the livelihoods of affected populations, QRCS provides medical services, healthcare, and social development to local communities. It is also active at the humanitarian advocacy front. With the help of a vast network of trained, committed staff and volunteers, QRCS aspires to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity.
QRCS works under the umbrella of the seven international humanitarian principles: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.