KARACHI: Speakers at a national conference on ‘Communication, voice and swallowing disorders’ said that 23 million individuals were inflicted with communication disorders in Pakistan and serious measures were needed to be taken to stem its adverse effect on more people.

“It is essential to initiate intervention for over 23 million people inflicted with communication disorders in Pakistan, and to establish training programs for furthering the profession of speech and language therapy in our country,” said Amina Siddiqui, principal, College of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, and chairperson of the conference organised by her college in collaboration with Ziauddin University at the latter’s premises.

She said communication was inherent to human existence and was “the divine blessing that makes us who we are”.

“One of the outcomes of this conference is to place Pakistan on the world map in the field of speech language pathology,” she added.

Mahnaz Maqbool, speech language pathologist from the United States, explained current educational system, its downside, and ways to alter it to address both the rich and the underserved equally.

Prof Masood Hameed Khan, vice chancellor of the Dow University of Health Sciences, who was chief guest at the conference, discussed the importance of having the human resource to deal with such hardships as communication disorders.

Dr Pirzada Qasim, vice chancellor of Ziauddin University, showed his conviction for the success of the College of Speech Language & Hearing Sciences.

Dr Abdul Ghaffar Billoo, president of the Speech and Hearing Association of Pakistan, said the conference was the first step towards highlighting the problem that was largely untouched in the country.

Tara Uzra, president of Dawood Global foundation, highlighted the importance of communication in a society.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2015

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