Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Launching the Pilbara Ear Health Model of Care today, Health Minister John Day said it would build on the Liberal National Government's 2013 Otitis Media Model of Care, by targeting prevention, early identification and treatment of hearing loss.
"The lifelong impacts of childhood deafness can be devastating. It has a profound effect on communication, education, literacy, socialisation and the ability to obtain employment," he said.
"Aboriginal people experience some of the highest levels of ear disease and hearing loss in the world, with rates up to 10 times more than those of non-Aboriginal people.
"The major challenges regarding the delivery of ear health services in the Pilbara and all remote locations are the high incidence of otitis media, especially among Aboriginal children, and access to specialist care including tertiary medical and remediation services."
Otitis media infection of the middle ear is a common childhood illness that, without appropriate treatment, leads to temporary or permanent hearing loss.
Strongly supported by Chevron, the Pilbara Ear Health Model of Care is a comprehensive guide to improving ear health outcomes, with 10 Principles of Best Practice ranging from disease prevention and targeting of at-risk groups, to specialist training and education services.
"I commend Chevron for providing funding for this invaluable work and to all the agencies involved in the development of the model," the Minister said.
"This ear health blueprint is the culmination of significant work, with the one purpose - to forge a better future for Pilbara communities through better hearing.
"The Pilbara Ear Health Model of Care is a very exciting achievement for Western Australia and showcases the work of the WA Country Health Service, Telethon Speech and Hearing and other health providers in the Pilbara."
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