To improve the lifestyle of persons with hearing impairment, the Health Ministry will be procuring and distributing some 1000 hearing aids in 2023. This was recently disclosed by Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony during the programme “The Guyana Dialogue”.
According to the Minister, just last month, the Ministry distributed 250 hearing aids to patients who need them. He further stated that he believes the programme will grow as more people become aware.
In the 2022 national budget, a sum of $15 million was allocated to procure hearing aids, which saw 500 persons, including children from all regions benefit.
“Before, if you’re diagnosed with a hearing problem you had to pay $65,000 to get a hearing aid. We have made this free. So, once you’re diagnosed with a hearing problem, we’ll give you a hearing aid, free of cost,” the Health Minister explained.
The programme aims to ensure that everyone with hearing loss is able to receive the gift of hearing. Though the elderly population is targeted, children are also being prioritised as beneficiaries.
According to a Department of Public Information (DPI) report, several programmes have been rolled out by the Ministry to assist citizens, among them the “Snap On” spectacle initiative that will see persons in the hinterland receiving spectacles free of cost.
Citizens are also benefitting from free cataract procedures. In addition, haemodialysis patients are benefitting from an annual $600,000 grant that will subsidise the cost of dialysis locally. Some 330 patients received the grant in 2022 and to date, over 100 persons have benefitted this year.
“So, there are lots of good things that are happening and it’s happening across the country,” the Minister assured.
During the launch of the Lesser Antilles Medical Assistance Team’s (LAMAT) operations in Guyana in February, Health Advisor, Dr Leslie Ramsammy revealed that the Government is currently working on programmes that would provide spectacles and hearing aids free of cost, as required by students this year.
According to Ramsammy, the Government has recognised that many children have been put at a disadvantage in the learning sector due to audio and visual problems.
“We have made a promise that every child in school — this is two hundred and eight thousand (208,000) children — will benefit from vision screening, and all the children that need glasses will be provided with their glasses free of charge. We have made a commitment that every child will have screening for hearing, so that anyone that needs aid to hear…we want to correct that. Not sometime in the future, but in 2023,” Ramsammy announced.