Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae, President of Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children, chaired, Wednesday at the “Abderrahim Harouchi” Mother-Child Hospital in Casablanca, the launch ceremony of the neonatal deafness screening national program.
On this occasion, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae attended a presentation on the “NASMAA” program delivered by the program manager and treasurer of the Foundation, Karim Essakalli.
Essakalli stressed that hearing screening is an important tool for the early detection of hearing impairment in infants, noting that it can contribute to strengthening social and academic development, reducing healthcare costs, and comforting parents.
The Foundation’s treasurer emphasized the personal involvement of Her Royal Highness in the national neonatal deafness screening program, noting that the Lalla Asmaa Foundation for Deaf Children will establish a diagnosis and hearing rehabilitation center in Casablanca to establish other similar centers across the Kingdom.
Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmaa also attended a presentation on the national neonatal deafness screening program, delivered by the Minister of Health and Social Protection, Khalid Ait Taleb.
Ait Taleb emphasized that according to the Royal Directives for an improved national health system and also to the recommendations of the general report of the new development model, the Ministry of Health initiated, according to its commitments with Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children, the institutionalization of a national health program on the screening and management of neonatal deafness in October 2022.
The Minister of Health stated that two pilot regions benefited from this education program, as these regions were provided with the necessary equipment (worth approximately MAD 4 million).
Ait Taleb also noted that the national program is based on several guidelines, namely universality within the framework of the generalization of basic medical coverage, the prioritization of the child through the strengthening of children’s rights, the improvement of quality through the training of human resources and the adoption of good medical practices by allowing all newborns to access screening, and the promotion of solidarity by joining the efforts of all actors.
Ait Taleb further added that the strategic vision of the national program is to invest in human capital through the neonatal screening of congenital deafness, noting that the program’s goals include screening, early diagnosis, and appropriate management to eliminate this sensory disability.
On this occasion, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae chaired the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the prevention and early management of deafness among newborns in the Casablanca-Settat region.
The first part of the memorandum focuses on the funding by the Council of the Casablanca-Settat region of the equipment of 21 maternity hospitals in the region with acoustic emission devices for neonatal deafness screening and the training of the medical staff on the equipment’s modus operandi, while the second part focuses on the establishment of a diagnosis and hearing rehabilitation center in Casablanca (CDRA) by Lalla Asmae Foundation.
The Memorandum of understanding was signed by Minister of Health and Social Protection, Khalid Ait Taleb, the Director of Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children, El Abbes Bouhlal, the Wali of the Casablanca-Settat region, Chairman of the Regional Committee for Human Development, Said Ahmidouche, and President of the Council of the Casablanca-Settat region, Abdellatif Maâzouz.
The first convention is related to the financial and administrative support of the international projects of Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children. It was signed by the Director of Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children, and the Director General of the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI), Mohamed Methqal.
The second convention is on the partial refund of cochlear implants. The convention, which is a collaboration between Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children and the National Social Security Fund (CNSS), is related to the coverage of deafness-related medical devices for deaf children who are covered by the Mandatory Health Insurance (AMO).
This convention, signed by El Abbes Bouhlal and the Director General of the National Social Security Fund (CNSS), Hassan Boubrik, relates to the Foundation’s funding of the parts not covered by the Mandatory Health Insurance (AMO), with the aim of increasing the number of beneficiaries.
Following the inauguration ceremony, HRH Princess Lalla Asmaa visited the ward of the Mother-Child Hospital Abderrahim Harouchi for the screening by the midwife of newborns with no hearing impairment, the screening by the pediatrician of newborns with mild hearing loss, and the confirmation of deafness by the ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist.
Her Royal Highness also visited the ward dedicated to severe infant deafness requiring a cochlear implant at 12 months, and moderate deafness in infants requiring a hearing aid.
Upon her arrival, HRH Princess Lalla Asmaa was greeted by the Minister of Health, Minister of Youth, Culture, and Communication, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, and Minister of Solidarity, Social Integration, and Family, Awatif Hayar.
Her Royal Highness was also greeted by the Wali of the Casablanca-Settat region, Said Ahmidouche, President of the Regional Council, Abdellatif Maâzouz, Governor of the Casablanca-Anfa prefecture, Aziz Dadas, President of the prefectural Council, Said Naciri, President of the Communal Council, Nabila Rmili, President of the Maârif district, Abdessadek Mourchid, Director General of “Ibn Rochd” University Hospital, Professor Hicham Afif, Director of the Abderrahim Harouchi mother-child hospital, Dr. Said Salmi, Director of Lalla Asmaa Foundation for Deaf Children, El Abbes Bouhlal, and several members and partners of Lalla Asmaa Foundation for Deaf Children.