This initiative is helping hearing-impaired people get a new lease of life
Did you know that approximately 75 million (1) people in India have hearing impairments?
What’s worse is that many of them are at a risk of permanent hearing loss due to a lack of awareness and access to proper healthcare.
Addressing the issue, however, is leading medical device company Medtronic.
In 2013, Medtronic launched a unique social business initiative called ‘Shruti’, which brings sustainable, low-cost otology services — including awareness education, screening, diagnosis, and treatment — to underserved communities, particularly in densely populated, low-income urban areas of India and Bangladesh.
Affordable healthcare for all
Under this program, health workers organize camps and go door to door with a smartphone mobile device that allows quick screening and diagnosis of patients with chronic ear infections or other ear diseases.
The screening device is built on commonly available cellphone technology and designed for rugged settings—making it portable and durable. An intuitive, user-friendly application interface allows community health workers to collect patient history, take a photograph of his/her ear drum, and upload data to an ENT specialist for diagnostic assistance.
Shruti has also partnered with an organization that offers a range of affordable hearing aids. These hearing aids can be used for a wide spectrum of hearing loss patients.
To date, over 6,00,000 people have been screened and over 15,000 have received affordable treatment for ear conditions and/or hearing loss under Shruti.
Shruti: A welcome initiative
Previously, patients with ear infections had a very distracted access to care due to presence of quacks in their vicinity; now, local health workers diagnose problems and refer patients to a local Shruti partner clinic that provides affordable treatment.
Given that lakhs of people in India live with undiagnosed ear injuries or infections, the importance of this initiative cannot be emphasized enough. By harnessing the power of partners and technology, Shruti has enabled affordable and accessible treatment of chronic ear infections.
On World Hearing Day (March 3), let’s pledge to make more people aware about this issue, so that they can take early action, instead of ignoring it.
Disclaimer: Any and all the information provided in the article are for general overview and informational purposes only. Recipients of this article taking any decisions and acting or omitting to act on the basis of the information contained in the brochure shall be doing it purely at their own risk and discretion and are advised to seek professional advice. For further information, please connect with your healthcare physician.
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