Listen up! Public voices support for universal newborn Hearing-screening program

Québec Coalition for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening calls on the minister of health to fund such a program

Montreal, June 12, 2008 –1000s of individuals, organizations, foundations and associations say:  Yes!  We support the creation of a universal newborn hearing-screening (UNHS) program in Québec.  

Hearing loss is the most common birth defect affecting 1 to 3 of every 1000 newborns. Yet in Québec, newborns don’t have a hearing test.  Detecting and treating hearing loss makes an enormous difference in the lives of the hearing impaired. This is why most Canadian provinces already have universal newborn hearing-screening programs.

Recently, an expert taskforce commissioned by the Quebec Ministry of Health published a 200-page document, which strongly recommends a UNHS program be launched without delay.  This long-awaited report and its clear conclusions have triggered unprecedented collaboration amongst advocates for children, resulting in the creation of the Quebec Coalition for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening.

Parents, children, health professionals and groups, organizations and associations representing the hearing impaired have joined forces to encourage the Québec government to follow the recommendations of its expert taskforce.

“We speak for the newborns who can’t speak for themselves,” says Dr. Hema Patel, a pediatrician and mother of a child born with profound hearing loss. “If we don’t speak and act now, children born with hearing loss may never speak.”

Ms. Hurteau, an audiologist at The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC, and a member of the government’s expert taskforce says:  “Detecting hearing loss in a newborn is fast, easy and inexpensive.  However, these children will be able to hear, speak and attend regular school which will actually save a tremendous amount of money. Financially is just makes sense.”

 “The Coaliton wants to work with Dr. Couillard, the Minister of Health to launch a UNHS program. Together we can make a difference,” says Mr. Claudio Bussandri, Chairman of the Québec Coalition for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening. “Hearing impaired children will reach their full potential and take their rightful place in Quebec society.”

Come meet the members of this new coalition and learn about the next steps in the campaign and watch as 1000s of letters and petitions are bundled up and mailed to Quebec Minister of Health Dr. Couillard.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 17th at 11h00

WHERE: Association des pédiatres du Québec
2, Complexe Desjardins - Porte 3000   

WHO: M. Claudio Busandri, Chair, Québec Coalition for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening

Anne-Marie Hurteau, acting Executive Secretary of the Coalition and audiologist

Dr. Hema Patel, acting Co-Chair of the Coalition, pediatrician and mother of a child born with a profound hearing loss.

For more information please call:
Lisa Dutton
514 412-4307