Objectives: The EUSCREEN study compares the cost-effectiveness of paediatric hearing screening programmes and aims to develop a cost-effectiveness model for this purpose. Alongside and informed by the development of the model, neonatal hearing screening (NHS) is implemented in Albania. We report on the first year. Methods: An implementation plan was made addressing objectives, target population, screening protocol, screener training, screening devices, care pathways and follow up. NHS started January 1st, 2018 in four maternity hospitals: two in Tirana, one in Pogradec and one in Kukës, representing both urban and rural areas. OAE-OAE-aABR was used to screen well infants in maternity hospitals, whereas aABR-aABR was used in neonatal intensive care units and in mountainous Kukës for all infants. Screeners’ uptake and attitudes towards screening and quality of screening were assessed by distributing questionnaires and visiting the maternity hospitals. The result of screening, diagnostics, follow up and entry into early intervention were registered in a database and monitored. Results: Screeners were keen to improve their skills in screening and considered NHS valuable for Albanian health care. The number of “fail” outcomes after the first screen was high initially but decreased to less than 10% after eight months. In 2018, 11,507 infants were born in the four participating maternity hospitals, 10,925 (94.9%) of whom were screened in the first step. For 486 infants the result of screening was not registered. For the first screen, ten parents declined, eight infants died and one infant was discharged before screening could be performed. In 1115 (10.2%) infants the test either could not be performed or the threshold was not reached; 361 (32,4%) of these did not attend the second screen. For the third screen 31 (34.4%) out of 90 did not attend. Reasons given were: parents declined (124), lived too far from screening location (95), their infant died (11), had other health issues (7), or was screened in private clinic (17), no reason given (138). Conclusions: Implementation of NHS in Albania is feasible despite continuing challenges. Acceptance was high for the first screen. However, 32.4% of 1115 infants did not attend the second screen, after a “fail” outcome for the first test.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Albania, Hearing impairment, Implementation study, Screening, Universal neonatal hearing screening
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2020.110039, hdl.handle.net/1765/126222
Journal International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Citation
Bussé, A.M. (Andrea ML.), Qirjazi, B, Goedegebure, A, Toll, M.S, Hoeve, L.J, Toçi, E. (Ervin), … Simonsz, H.J. (2020). Implementation of a neonatal hearing screening programme in three provinces in Albania. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 134. doi:10.1016/j.ijporl.2020.110039