Feature: Deafness, a leading disability in RP
By Rose Palacio
Davao City (6 September) -- Deafness is the second leading disability in the Philippines, with a prevalence of 1.10% and is second only to moving disability. The prevalence of hearing impairment is 2.04% with a higher prevalence rate among the elderly.
Private entities like the Maharlika Charity Foundation, concerned government agencies and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have been working and coordinating closely to improve the delivery of services and referral system for the deaf persons.
Dr. Ricardo Torno, ENT expert and consultant of the Maharlika Charity Foundation said that in the year 2000, with the country's population of about 78 million, with about 33 million Filipino children or 45% of the population, an estimated of 1.4 million have some form of hearing impairment.
Last year, a study conducted by the experts in the University of Santo Tomas, showed that 28.1% of Filipinos have hearing problems, and 8.8% have hearing disability.
Majority of hearing impairment cases are caused by Impacted Cerumen, Otitis Media, and other infectious diseases.
Dr. Torno said that 80% of deafness is preventable. However, the lack of knowledge on proper ear care, and inadequate ear and hearing facilities, especially in far-flung areas, have proven to be a big hindrance to fight deafness. There is also a need to have enough data to show the total magnitude of the problem.
Every year, the country is celebrating "Deafness Awareness Week" (November 10-16), which was welcomed by different agencies with various programs for deafness prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation as a period of highlighting the battle against one of the biggest form of disability, which is deafness.
Agencies involved in the unified Deafness Awareness include: Davao Jubilee Foundation; Social Concerns UCCCP; Rizal Special Education and Learning Center; Maharlika Charity Foundation led by its president Dr. Rizal Aportadera; Quota International; Davao Medical Center, ENT department; Davao City Health Office led by CHO Dr. Jocelyn Villafuerte; CSSDO led by Marilyn Agonia; and the DSWD XI. (PIA) [top]