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World Hearing Day: Make hearing aids affordable, available for aged, experts urge FG

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Medical experts have urged the Federal Government to make hearing aids affordable and available for the aged population in Nigeria.

They made the appeal on Friday in Abuja while commemorating the World Hearing Day, which is held annually on March 3.

At a sensitisation campaign to create awareness on hearing issues, Dr Ogugua Osiogbu, Head of Geriatrics Unit, National Hospital, Abuja, said that making hearing aids available and affordable for the elderly was very important to enable them continually engage with society.

“With increasing age there’s a big risk for hearing impairment, but I must also say that the very commonest thing that will actually cause hearing impairment in older adults is wax impaction.

“It comes with a very simple treatment, just putting a dissolvent and the wax dissolves.

“The other major cause of hearing impairment in them is what we describe as sensory neural hearing loss and for that they often require hearing aids and these are often very expensive for them to get.

“So our campaign to government and charitable organisations is to make these hearing aids available and affordable for older adults.”

According to Osiogbu, if the hearing impairments of older adults are not taken care of properly, all the information about custom and tradition they have to pass on to the younger generation will not be passed on.

She, however, advised that as people get older, they should avoid things that bring about hearing impairment.

The Acting Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr Abba Gbadamasi, said that there was special attention on the aged because the body of the aged was not as fresh as those who were young.

“Naturally their body organs are tired and the risks are there that is why we look at that population and make sure that we risk access them and care for them and try to tell them how to avoid those challenges.”

Dr Undie NseObong, the Head, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department, said that the day was being commemorated to prevent and help people to be aware of so many things that might cause hearing problems.

According to her, if even a pregnant woman takes some drugs, it might actually cause that baby in the womb to become deaf.

“We just want to ensure that people do not cause hearing problems for themselves.

“For instance, it is very trendy right now to see people use their phones to listen to very loud music.

“There is something called noise induced hearing loss and it is as a result of excessive exposure to very loud sounds like the soldiers that are in the shooting ranges so all those things cause problems with hearing.

“We also do not want people to be using ear drops at random, people just walk into a pharmacy and buy an ear drop but some of those ear drops can actually cause hearing loss because people don’t know, they just use anything they like and it is very wrong.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the world hearing day, with the theme “Ear and hearing care for all”, is celebrated to highlight the importance of integrating ear and hearing care within primary care as an essential component of universal health coverage.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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