The Québec Coalition for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening congratulates both the McGill University Health Centre and the CHU Ste-Justine for launching newborn hearing-screening programs

    The Coaliton urges Quebec to create a universal program that would
    benefit all babies no matter where they are born

    MONTREAL, Sept. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The Québec Coaliton for Newborn Hearing
Screening congratulates the CHU Ste-Justine and the McGill University Health
Centre (MUHC). Both are launching newborn hearing-screening programs.
    "This is terrific news for babies born and treated at Ste-Justine's and
born at the MUHC's Royal Victoria Hospital and treated at the MUHC's Montreal
Children's Hospital," says Dr. Hema Patel, co-chair of the Coalition and a
pediatrician at The Montreal Children's Hospital. "However, the Coalition
continues to urge the Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services to launch
a universal program so that all Quebec newborns can benefit from a screening
program. Right now, these major health centers are able to provide this
service, thanks to the generosity of their foundations and donors. But we are
essentially creating two-tiers of health care. All Quebec children deserve the
same level of care."
    Province-wide, a universal newborn hearing screening program would cost
Quebec approximately $5 million/year in the first few years (to support the
necessary building of infrastructure, including equipment). These costs
include all the necessary expenditures from screening to intervention. INSPQ's
Expert Task Force estimates that this financial investment will create a net
benefit of 1.6 million per year to our society.
    "Newborn hearing screening is essential. A simple, inexpensive test is
able to detect profound hearing loss or a hearing deficit in newborns. This
allows us to treat these children early allowing them to learn to talk and
live completely normal lives," says Dr. Harvey Guyda, Executive Director of
the Montreal Children's Hospital. "For this reason, both The Children's and
the Royal Victoria Hospital approached their foundations asking them to invest
$300,000 to launch a screening program at The Vic and a screening program and
treatment program at The Children's."
    Hearing loss is the most common birth defect affecting 1 to 3 of every
1000 newborns. Yet in Québec, newborns don't have their hearing tested. Early
detection and treatment of hearing loss makes an enormous difference in the
lives of the hearing impaired.
    When an infant's hearing loss is detected late, the hearing impairment
could lead not only to an inability to communicate using speech, but could
also lead to developmental delay that will impact on the child's ability to
learn and to become a productive and happy citizen. In the end, this will end
up costing society as the child will require special education and may need
income support due to poor employability.

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Dutton, (514) 412-4307,

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