AUDIOLOGICAL SPECIALISTS FOR KENYAN CHILDREN
More than 48 million people who speak over 50 different languages live in the East African country of Kenya. But not all children can learn to speak in the first place. This is often due to the country’s poor audiological care. In order to improve this situation in the long term, the Hear the World Foundation is supporting the audiology clinic at Kijabe hospital, 60 kilometers north of the capital, Nairobi.
Place & Year
If hearing screenings are not routinely performed on babies and children, hearing loss often goes undetected for a long time and thus remains untreated. And even if hearing loss is detected because, for example, a child does not learn to speak properly, many families in Kenya do not have the opportunity to help their child. There is a shortage of well-trained hearing care professionals as well as a lack of audiological equipment. This is where the Hear the World Foundation comes in: since 2018, the foundation has been supporting the audiology clinic in Kijabe both financially and through the donation of hearing aids. The diagnostic tools donated by the foundation are also essential. The necessary specialist knowledge is provided by hearing experts who provide support and mentorship as volunteers.
From Kijabe to Lübeck – and back: further training in pediatric audiology
In order to provide even better training for local professionals, in 2019 the Hear the World Foundation made it possible for clinicians in project partners to obtain further training in pediatric audiology. This was offered for the first time as part of the “International Summer Academy” at the renowned Academy of Hearing Aid Acoustics (afh) in Lübeck, Germany. Elizabeth Wambui, a hearing care professional from the audiology clinic at Kijabe Hospital was one of the participants. During the one-week intensive course, she learned best practices in diagnosing hearing loss in children, making ear molds suitable for children, fitting hearing aids and involving families in their children’s care. In addition, experts brought her up to date on modern hearing technology and diagnostic procedures.
“Hearing care in Kenya is very poor. We have few professionals and there are hardly any opportunities for training in pediatric acoustics”, says Elizabeth. “I can now pass on the knowledge I gained at the afh Summer Academy to colleagues in Kenya and help improve the hearing care available to children in my country.”
Learning from and with the professionals: the Hear the World Foundation volunteer team with the project partners at Kijabe Hospital.
Volunteers in Kenya: experts provide help in the form of training and assistance
A team of Sonova Volunteers visited Kijabe Hospital for the first time in February 2020. They gained an initial impression of the clinic and helped Elizabeth apply her learnings from Lübeck in her daily work. At the same time, numerous children received their first hearing aids, which volunteer Yovina from Sonova UK fit with Elizabeth’s help. Sonova audiologist Barbara Muench, who had already met Elizabeth during training in Lübeck, was also present: «I’m impressed by the enormous progress Elizabeth has made thanks to her training at afh and by the resulting improvement in the quality of care at Kijabe Hospital.»
Teamwork at Kijabe Hospital: volunteer Yovina with Elizabeth Wambui
State-of-the-art diagnostic tools
Sylvester from Natus traveled to Kenya with the Hear the World Foundation to train the team in the use of newly donated diagnostic equipment.
The Hear the World Foundation also donated the diagnostic equipment for the project in Kenya. It comes from Natus, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hearing and balance measuring instruments. A representative of the company accompanied the Hear the World team to Kenya. He helped put the donated resources to use and trained the team on how to use them. As a partner, Natus supports the Hear the World Foundation with special conditions.