Author(s): McPherson B, Holborow CA
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Abstract Research was carried out on various aspects of deafness in a West African population. A national survey of childhood deafness was completed to discover the incidence and causes of severe to profound hearing loss in The Republic of the Gambia. A large school screening campaign was conducted to determine the prevalence of middle ear disease in Gambian children. Smaller studies concerned the hearing loss among post-meningitis patients; the disease pattern of audiology clinic patients in both urban and rural areas; the degree of hearing loss associated with otitis media and the rubella serology of a group of Gambian women and children. It was found that meningitis was a major identifiable disease causing deafness. Rubella and measles, often causes of deafness in other tropical countries, did not seem to be of such importance in The Gambia. Familial factors also accounted for little of the childhood deafness as far as it was possible to tell. Chronic middle ear infections could give rise to considerable hearing loss but rarely led to the dangerous complications often seen in other tropical communities. Effective medical and audiological services for the deaf are difficult to implement in developing countries. A primarily preventive approach may prove to be the most rational way of helping the deaf in The Gambia.
This article was published in Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol
and referenced in Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education