newborn screening canada

Canadian Province to Expand Newborn Hearing Screenings for All

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA — the Canadian province of Manitoba has announced that it will expand newborn hearing screening to all babies born in the province. The announcement comes a year after a study indicated “serious shortcomings” in the country’s newborn hearing screening protocol, with only two locations in the entire province of Manitoba currently conducting the screenings.{{1}}[[1]]See David Kirkwood’s 2014 post: Canada’s Universal Newborn Screening Called “A Resounding Failure”[[1]]

Dr. Hema Patel, a pediatrician and mother of a child with hearing loss, told a news conference at Parlaiment Hill last year that the country needed to do more to ensure children weren’t falling through the cracks and delaying the identification of hearing loss at a such a critical period when early intervention can have tremendous benefits.

“As a country, we are failing our children,” -Dr. Hema Patel responds at a 2014 news conference discussing a recent Canadian study that found many infants were not receiving hearing screenings at birth.

The announcement expanding newborn screenings came Thursday from Sharon Blady, Manitoba’s Health Minister.

Early Intervention

blady
Sharon Blady

In the announcement, Minister Blady explained how early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss can be critical for long-term success of the child with hearing loss, particularly when diagnosis is made before three months of age.

“Every family deserves access to the screening and supports they need to give their baby the best chance for a healthy start,” said Minister Blady. “This expanded program will help ensure no child with congenital hearing loss falls through the cracks.”

The expanded program will be implemented in full by September 2016 and is expected to cost the province approximately $3 million (CAD) in new funding.

Source: CBC, TodaysNDP;  Title image courtesy phsa