New Delhi, July 30, 2015: Analysis of data registered after a structured check – up of over 1 lakh people living in slum clusters of Delhi and Hyderabad, under the Shruti programme, reveals that 1 in 4 people of Delhi’s underserved population is in an urgent need of medical attention to avoid permanent deafness. Under Shruti programme, 40,000 people were screened for ear infections in Mustafabad, Trilokpuri & Jehangirpuri over a period of two years.
Almost 100% of the people checked were unaware of their condition. More than 30,000 people in Delhi and Hyderabad were referred to ear surgeons for different levels of ear care including medical management, surgical intervention and hearing aid fitting. It was also found that children and women ignore ear infections, which lead to serious medical conditions. Around 35,000 children have been screened for ear infections under the initiative so far.
Medtronic launched Shruti programme in collaboration with Dr. Shroff Charitable Eye Hospital in Delhi. Launched in 2013, Shruti aims to create and manage a self-sustaining ecosystem for awareness, diagnosis and treatment of underserved patients, specifically children, suffering from ear infections.
The initiative addresses key barriers of affordability, lack of proper diagnosis and timely treatment to prevent partial or complete deafness.
One of the patients, Mrs. Saroj Devi, resident of Mustafabad area in Delhi, who has successfully undergone the treatment said: “I was suffering from pain in my ear for a long time, but I never paid much attention to it as I thought it was related to cold and cough. Later I was screened by Shruti community workers and got to know that I have severe ear infection. The community workers guided me on how to avail of proper treatment. I had to undergo surgery, which has helped me in leading a normal, healthy life without the irritation in my ears.”
Speaking on the milestone of Shruti, Milind Shah, Vice-President, South Asia and Managing Director India Medtronic said: “Screening over 100,000 people is an important milestone for Shruti. During the examinations it was found that one out of every three people was in need of immediate medical attention. In the absence of the Shruti program most of those screened would have never visited an ENT specialist or would not have even realized that they were suffering from a medical condition. I feel happy and proud to say that Shruti has saved these people from permanent hearing disability. However there is still more that needs to be done and the Shruti team will cross many new milestones.”
Sharing more insights on the milestone of Shruti, Dr. Nishi Gupta, Head of ENT, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital said, “There is a need to create infrastructure in terms of dedicated centers for affordable ear care. People in the underserved areas have little knowledge as to how ear infections are actually affecting their lives. Over 100,000 screenings is a big milestone for Shruti. But there are still many people with ear infections unaware of their condition and Shruti would achieve even greater milestones by helping these people. ”
Under this program, trained community health workers travel door-to-door within the targeted areas to conduct free ear screenings. The health workers have practical experience of working closely with ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) surgeons and paramedical teams coupled with the use of the Shruti kit. Also, during this screening opportunity, health workers educate the people on good ear care habits, which can help them to avoid preventable hearing loss. Residents are screened within their community via a specially designed hand held screening device that links the community screeners to Shruti staff and an ENT surgeon via a telemedicine application that transmits images of the patient’s middle ear.