Lack of audiologist hits people with hearing disabilities

Asia-Pacific, October 9 2014

TRICHY, INDIA: The unavailability of an audiologist at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH), is forcing patients with hearing disabilities  from Trichy district go all the way to the Thanjavur Medical College Hospital to get their audiology tests done.

Though MGMGH is considered to be a major health centre for poor patients in Trichy and nearby districts, the hospital is crippled with various issues including manpower shortage. Some of the departments in the hospital are yet to be improved to provide essential care to the patients either due to official apathy or inaction by the government.

While being so, the ENT department has been functioning without a full-time audiologist for long as such post was so far not created. The poor patients have to either depend on private hospitals in the city or hospitals in neighbouring districts. Sources said that an audiometric technician retired from the department nearly three years back but that post too was not filled so far.

An audiology test is a must for patients who need surgery; those who need hearing disability certificate to avail quotas in job, concessional bus pass and other government provided facilities.

If any hearing impaired patient needs to get the audiology test done here, he or she has to come only on Wednesday or Thursday in a week because a woman audiologist from the Thanjavur Medical College hospital is deputed to take care of the test. Those who need the certificate in the remaining days have to go to Thanjavur. It is said that around 30 patients undergo audiologist test a day.

Dr S Palaniappan, head of the department of ENT, MGMGH refused to comment on the matter and said that the hospital dean has to answer.

The situation worsened after P Sellam, the only government audiologist serving in the office of the disability rehabilitation was arrested on September 5 after he was charged with molesting three women with hearing disabilities aged between 19 and 21.

After his arrest and suspension, the post of audiology was not filled for the past one month in the rehabilitation office. When contacted, district disability rehabilitation officer Saminathan said that no arrangement was made to bring an audiologist because the case against Sellam was pending in the court.

Source: Times of India

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