mHealth Screening Solutions.

Building on the hearScreen experience and platform, mHealth Screening Solutions detect and address hearing and vision difficulties in young children using mobile phones and calibrated headsets.

The need

Globally, 285 million people have visual impairment, with 80% having diseases with known curative or preventive treatment. As with hearing loss, those living in poverty are disproportionately affected.
Screening programs to detect hearing and vision loss are crucial because they can establish the need for further treatment, thereby allowing for early intervention. At present there are no systematic screening programmes using a combined approach to detect childhood vision and hearing problems in pre-school children in underserved communities.

Early detection of hearing loss as well as vision problems before school-entry can optimise healthy learning.

The innovation

Building on the successful hearing screening of over 2000 children in the hearScreen pilot in Mamelodi, this project tackles a joint sensory screening initiative with Peek Vision and the HearX Group.

mHealth Screening Solutions allow for a combined vision and hearing screening service as an entirely new solution for traditional barriers to the detection of disabling vision and hearing problems using low cost, commercially available hardware (a smartphone and headset) together with custom developed software applications.

This innovation provides cost-effective combined vision and hearing screening for pre-school aged children through trained community workers visiting community based ECD centres, and builds a referral pipeline to ensure that every child who is identified as requiring intervention receives the necessary support.

Key insights

This change making solution overcomes many of the traditional barriers to screening and makes it possible to address problems before they have an irreversible impact.
The challenge – and opportunity for scale – lies in full integration with public health and education systems, and potentially creating entrepreneurial opportunities for community workers.

Innovation Edge welcomes partners interested in supporting the scale up of this exciting initiative.

The project team

Peek Vision is a UK company that develops mobile eye screening applications and lens adaptors for testing vision
HearScreen is an innovative start-up providing smart solutions for healthy hearing.
The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators’ dues, corporate sponsors, foundations, and others who support public education initiatives.