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WHO launches deafness prevention center in China


The World Health Organization (WHO) opened a deafness prevention center in Beijing on December 8 in cooperation with the local Tongren Hospital.

The center will promote the hearing loss prevention in China, the rural areas in particular. It will also help train professionals for the country.

Dr. Shigeru Omi, director of the WHO's Western Pacific Regional Office, said the Ear-Nose-Throat department of Tongren is leading in expertise in the country, which is why WHO is cooperating with it.

Wang Yu, an official with the Health Ministry, said a 2006 survey showed that China had 20.04 million people with hearing impairment, or 24 percent of the total disabled population.

Of the deaf group, 800,000 were under 7 years old and 30,000 deaf babies were born each year, according to Wang.

Han Demin, president of Tongren and director of the center, said the age bracket of 0-7 was key to children's language skill development, and hearing impairment within this period would not only result in slow language development or even deaf-mutism, but retarded growth in children's psychology and social skills.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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