For the beginning of the International Week of Deaf People, which is this year marked from 19 to 25 September, HRH Crown Princess Katherine, together with the Royal Hearing Screening Committee, whose founder and patron is Her Royal Highness emphasizes the importance of raising awareness about the deaf community and human rights and needs of the people and especially children who are deaf and hard of hearing, also pointing out the special focus on the importance of early diagnosis at young-ones.
Crown Princess Katherine and the Royal Hearing Screening Committee appeal to the importance of using equipment for early diagnosis in all maternity hospitals, so that hearing problems can be noticed during the period when early intervention and proper treatments can provide more quality life.
“Many deaf and hearing-impaired people are facing difficulties in their everyday lives, and unfortunately not only that but also various forms of discrimination. That needs to change, and we all must give our contribution. The World Federation of Deaf has wisely determined that the topic of this year’s marking of the Week of Deaf people has the topic “Building Inclusive Communities for All”. This topic speaks for itself, and let us all help this noble cause. Because to feel and share love and compassion in your heart, you do not need to hear well.
It is also necessary to say that many people are born with this disability, but that if discovered timely and treated properly, the quality of their lives can be significantly increased. My Foundation and I have been making efforts for years to introduce mandatory hearing screening for newborns, so that, if it turns out that the baby has a hearing impairment, the health care system has an opportunity to react adequately and quickly. I believe that no newborn baby should leave the hospital without a three-minute test, to make sure that they do not have a hearing problem”, HRH Crown Princess said.
The International Week of Deaf People is an annual event marked by the global Deaf Community during the last week of September, to commemorate the month when the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf was first held. The International Week of Deaf People strives to promote the human rights of people who are deaf while gathering, becoming united, and showing unity to the rest of the world.
Congenital bilateral hearing impairment and deafness, as well as deafness acquired in early childhood, lead to a decrease in the emotional, social and communicative development of the child. Early diagnosis of hearing is very important in order to start early intervention. In deaf and hard of hearing children, it must be carried out in the first few months of life, which enables the development and understanding of speech and avoids permanent consequences of deafness and hearing impairment.
The HRH Crown Princess Katherine Foundation is actively working on delivering donations of hearing screening equipment to hospitals in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska. At the initiative of Crown Princess Katherine, with the support of the Royal Hearing Screening Committee, several donations were conducted in the previous period to the “Narodni Front” Clinic in Belgrade, Delivery hospital Dragiša Mišović, the Clinical Center of Serbia, the Clinical Center in Nis, and the University Clinical Centre (UCC) of the Republic of Srpska and others. With this significant equipment and the introduction of mandatory hearing screening for newborn babies, Crown Princess Katherine is trying to reduce the number of permanently deaf children in Serbia.
Also, in collaboration with Dr. Daniel Djuraskovic Megler, an American otorhinolaryngologist of Serbian origin, and Ms. Ardis J. Gardella, President of The Holley Institute from Detroit, Michigan, the Foundation of HRH Crown Princess Katherine successfully organized trips for hearing impaired children to a special camp in Detroit, that brought new knowledge and experience not only for children but also to Serbian teachers that accompanied them.