Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has called for assistance for people living with hearing impairment and the less-privileged in the society, saying such would help them out of the isolation of a silent world and inspire them to become more active members of the society.
According to him, it would also reflect caring with their communities to create a positive effect on their future.
Obasanjo, who was represented by his wife, Mrs. Bola Obasanjo, stated this at a training and free ear and hearing aid organized by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Starkey Hearing Foundation, in conjunction with the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation.
The training was held at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He said the hope and hearing that comes with a hearing device was to empower the young and old to achieve their human potentials and giving them the ability to hear has an immediate inspiring impact on a person’s quality of life and a compounding effect on the society at large.
In his opening address, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, represented by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, said the present administration had prioritized health sector for the over 7.2 million residents of state, saying that it was think-thank approach method the state government adopted in catering for their people.
He said health was the second cardinal programme of the state government and that the state institutionalized their programme in a way their people would key into it, noting that over 16,000 people had keyed into the state Community-based Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS), “Araya” programme.
He said people need to jettison the habit of attributing ear problem to religion as the two goes in separate ways which has nothing to with each others, saying that many hearing challenges could be solved by medical intervention without relating to religious aspect of life. He then called on federal government attention on the audio logical aspect in order to make life so meaningful to the people.
The Starkey Hearing Foundation Chairman, Dr. Heather Jensen, said over 80 percent people lives in area where there was no access to hearing health professional, which resulted to the increase on people living with hearing challenges and impairment in the country.
She said hearing loss has a great potential devastating consequences for a person’s physical and mental health, education and employment, saying that it impedes cognitive growth, social integration and quality of life.
“Starkey Hearing Foundation gives the gift of hearing to people in need in the country and around the world, and we believe that hearing is a vehicle to reflect caring and improve the lives of individuals, their families and communities at large,” She said.
She added that in recent National survey of hearing impairment and deafness in Nigeria show that approximately 8.5 million (5%) Nigerians have some form of hearing impairment, saying that there was a need for more hearing health epidemiological studies in Nigeria to provide objective estimates of the disease burden.