Hearing screening procedures and protocols in use at immunisation clinics in South Africa

Luisa Petrocchi-Bartal, Katijah Khoza-Shangase
South African Journal of Communication Disorders. die Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif Vir Kommunikasieafwykings 2014 December 3, 61 (1)

BACKGROUND: There exists a need for context-relevant research aimed at facilitating the efficacious provision of early hearing detection and intervention services in South Africa.

OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine the hearing screening procedures and protocols as well as referral protocols in use at maternal child woman's health (MCWH) immunisation clinics in South Africa.

METHOD: Thirty primary health care immunisation clinic managers or acting managers were interviewed in two South African sample groups. An exploratory, non-experimental,qualitative research design was employed incorporating both quantitative and qualitative information. An interview using a questionnaire was administered with all participants. The questionnaire encompassed areas such as work contexts, hearing screening contexts and information management systems, as well as quality control measures in place at these clinics.Content analysis was then used to code emergent themes into specific categories. Frequency calculations of these themes were calculated and results described qualitatively.

RESULTS: No primary health care (PHC) clinics placed within the identified sites provided formalised new-born/infant hearing screening and none of these facilities had equipment to do so. Most sites attributed the lack of formalised hearing screening to budgetary and human resource issues, staff training in particular. Non-formalised hearing screening protocols in place demonstrated inconsistencies in application across districts and none complied with Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) clinic guidelines or any international guidelines.

CONCLUSION: Results from the current study have assisted in identifying procedural and logistical assets and barriers to implementation of HPCSA clinic guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) at immunisation clinics in South Africa.

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