Original Research

Availability of resources for paediatric hearing care in a South African province

Mukovhe Phanguphangu, Khomotjo Kgare, Ashley Flynn, Sinelihle Kotelana, Siphesihle Mfeketo, Sinovuyo Njiva
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 16, No 1 | a3952 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v16i1.3952 | © 2024 Mukovhe Phanguphangu, Khomotjo Kgare, Ashley Flynn, Sinelihle Kotelana, Siphesihle Mfeketo, Sinovuyo Njiva | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2022 | Published: 22 March 2024

About the author(s)

Mukovhe Phanguphangu, Department of Rehabilitative Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Khomotjo Kgare, Department of Rehabilitative Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Ashley Flynn, Department of Rehabilitative Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Sinelihle Kotelana, Department of Rehabilitative Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Siphesihle Mfeketo, Department of Rehabilitative Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Sinovuyo Njiva, Department of Rehabilitative Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Unavailability of healthcare resources can lead to poor patient outcomes. The latter is true for infants with hearing loss and require early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI).

Aim: To determine the availability and distribution of resources for EHDI in state hospitals in the Eastern Cape (EC) province, South Africa.

Setting: Sixteen state hospitals (nine district, four regional and three tertiary hospitals).

Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional survey completed between July 2022 and October 2022.

Results: Thirteen hospitals had audiologists (n = 4) or speech therapists and audiologists (n = 9). Specific to equipment, 10 hospitals had a screening otoacoustic emissions or automated auditory brainstem response, 8 hospitals had diagnostic middle ear analysers and only 3 hospitals had diagnostic auditory brainstem response and/or auditory steady state response. Twelve hospitals did not have visual response audiometry (VRA) and 94% had no hearing aid verification systems. Budget allocations were uneven, with only 10 hospitals, i.e., 4 districts, all regional and 2 tertiary hospitals being allocated varying amounts. Subsequently, only 50% provided newborn hearing screening, 56% provided diagnostic evaluations and 14 hospitals fitted hearing aids.

Conclusion: Results revealed a limited and uneven distribution of resources, which negatively impacted the provision of EHDI. Even distribution of healthcare resources and further research aimed at strengthening hearing health services is recommended as these could potentially improve equitable access to EHDI and the overall quality of healthcare provided.

Contribution: This study highlights the need for even distribution of resources and strengthening of health systems, especially in the dawn of the National Health Insurance.


Keywords

early hearing detection and intervention; paediatric and/or infant; state hospitals; resources; availability.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

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