Yankho was identified on a HARK outreach

Yankho was identified on a HARK outreach

Yankho is a 4-year-old boy who had ear infections in both ears essentially his whole life but has never received treatment. He was seen on a HARK outreach in Blantyre, as his mother heard about our outreach from his school at Andiseni Primary.

He was very scared and didn’t want anyone to look in his ears. Kent (ENT/Audiology Officer) gave him the otoscope to hold, and demonstrated how it works. Kent has managed to mop the infection from both ears, and prescribed him with antibiotics and pain reducers.

Our HARK team will be returning for another outreach to check on his infection and test his hearing to determine the best way to move forward.

Targeted Paediatric Hearing Screening Project in Zambia

Targeted Paediatric Hearing Screening Project in Zambia

We are delighted to be working with Zambia’s largest hospital, the University Teaching Hospital, to introduce targeted paediatric hearing screening. The aim of the project is to identify children with hearing loss as early as possible so that they can benefit from audiological, educational and support interventions to allow them to fulfil their potential in life.

We are pleased that Tersia de Kock, an audiologist and expert in early hearing detection and intervention, is with us this week to run theoretical and practical training at University Teaching Hospital.

Participants from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Developmental Intervention Clinic, the ENT unit and Zambia National Association of the Hearing Impaired (ZNAHI) are all participating in training.

Congratulations to Matt, Maya and Rona on their 10k London run!

Congratulations to Matt, Maya and Rona on their 10k London run!

We would like to say congratulations to Matt, Maya and Rona on their Vitality British 10k London Run last Sunday 10th July 2016.

They have fundraised £640 altogether and we really appreciated their support.

If you are interested in taking on a running or challenge events, please contact us to find out more!

Julia’s First Month in Malawi

Julia’s First Month in Malawi

“Since my arrival at the audiology clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi at the end of May 2016, I have spent my first month getting acquainted with the clinic and staff, going on outreach to community centers outside of Blantyre, and immersing myself in the world of newborn hearing screening. I partnered with an engineer who has been staying in the same lodge as me to come up with a way to reuse the disposable ear phones that are made for our newborn hearing screen equipment. Together we designed a reusable device to hold the ear phones on the newborns’ heads. The engineer drew up designs to give to the wood carvers in town, and we had a local tailor sew some straps out of chitenje fabric, which can easily be washed. I cut ovals out of foam to give some cushion and flexibility between the wood and the baby’s head to account for head shape differences.

Our office manager brought her 6-month-old baby, Theodore, into the clinic to trial our earphone contraption. He was quite the good sport about the whole thing and everything fit perfectly. We are now ready to produce another few sets in preparation for our newborn hearing screen program. 

Over the next week or so, I will continue researching the best way to go about setting up a newborn hearing screen program in Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. The next step is to write and submit a research proposal so we can publish the data we gather on our newborn hearing screen program. The hope is that publishing an article on this process will contribute to the future of the newborn hearing screen program at QECH, as well as adding to the body of research about newborn hearing screen programs in Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing areas of the world.”

Julia Swayne, B.A.

Student Doctor of Audiology

A.T. Still University

Earmould Training in Malawi

Earmould Training in Malawi

We are very pleased that our volunteer, Dr Courtney Caron, has organised an Earmould Training for our new audiology clinic in Blantyre, Malawi. She said that: “Mark Chipeta (middle) has spent the week training Louis Jailos (left, one of the audiology officers) and Samson Mponda (right, new official Queens earmould maker) on how to make earmoulds. We are forever grateful to ABC Hearing Clinic and Training Centre for facilitating Mark to come here for this important training!”

Sound Seekers’ Silent Auction

Sound Seekers’ Silent Auction

England FootballWe are excited to announce that we will be hosting a silent auction for some amazing prizes! A form can be submitted at our fundraising event tomorrow evening (Thursday 12th May) at Bankside Gallery by 8pm or email your bid to alice@sound-seekers.org.uk by noon on Monday 16th May.

Prizes include:

1. Two Club Wembley Gold Debenture tickets for England v Portugal football match on 2nd June 2016. Also includes exclusive access to the Gold Debenture Holders’ Bar; free drinks at half time and Programme.

Minimum bid: £250

2. Four Gold Debenture tickets to the T20 Blast at Lords between Middlesex v Sussex Sharks on Thursday 16th June at 6.15pm. Also includes exclusive access to Lords’ Debenture holders’ licensed bar and terrace, providing refreshments, light meals and snacks.

Minimum bid: £200Cricket

3. Two tickets to see Beyoncé live at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 3rd July.

Minimum bid: £150

You can still register for Bankside Gallery tomorrow night (Thursday 12th May): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sound-seekers-bankside-gallery-tickets-23239996455 

 

First comprehensive audiology clinic in Southern Malawi is officially opened by Minister of Health, Dr Peter Kumpalume

First comprehensive audiology clinic in Southern Malawi is officially opened by Minister of Health, Dr Peter Kumpalume

Press Release 5th May 2016 – Sound Seekers, a UK charity dedicated to helping deaf people in some of the poorest communities in Africa, announces the official opening of a comprehensive purpose-built and state of the art audiology clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, the first such clinic in Southern Malawi.

Sound Seekers has worked closely with the Government of Malawi and other partners to design, build, equip and staff the new clinic with funding from UK Aid Match Fund Scheme and the people of island of Jersey. The clinic will provide hearing aids that will enable patients to hear and therefore be better able to participate in family life, with improved access to education and the workplace. It is anticipated that the clinic will be able to treat approximately 35,000 people over the next ten years.

The Minister of Health in Malawi, Dr Peter Kumpalume, comments on the impact this new facility will have for local people suffering the effects of hearing loss: “I am delighted to preside over the opening of the magnificent Audiology Clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital which has been supported by Sound Seekers and provides the first comprehensive audiology service in Southern Malawi incorporating ear and hearing health, outreach clinics, training Malawians to become the country’s first audiologists, and training teachers’ to ensure inclusion of deaf children in education.  With all of these activities working in harmony with each other, we will have created a holistic programme to support the deaf and we should be very proud about.”

The opening of the new clinic marks a major milestone in Sound Seekers’ four year project in Malawi that began with the arrival of American volunteer audiologist, Dr Courtney Caron in 2014. She has launched and developed the clinical audiology service at the hospital, working closely with Dr Andrew Gonani, Director of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Dr Wakisa Mulwafu, Head of Ear Nose and Throat Department and she has overseen the building of the new clinic, which began in March 2015. The clinic is fitted with a comprehensive range of equipment for measuring levels of hearing loss of patients of any age including two sound-proofed booths, audiometers, tympanometers, otoacoustic emission screeners, hearing aid programming and verification equipment as well as auditory objective measurement equipment for testing patients that may be unable to respond themselves such as newborn babies or someone that has suffered from a brain injury.

A building and equipment alone cannot provide a service to deaf people without skilled and trained medical staff to run the clinic. Emma Judge, CEO of Sound Seekers, explains: “Sound Seekers’ core principle is to support truly sustainable projects where local people are enabled to deliver medical services in their own country. To that end we are very pleased to be sponsoring four Malawian audiology officers who are currently studying for an MSc in Audiology at the University of Manchester in England. When they return to Blantyre in September this year they will be the first fully qualified audiologists in the country and they will ensure that this clinic continues to thrive and serve the people of the local community well into the future.”

Deafness is a very isolating disability that can have a devastating impact on education and the potential for employment and economic independence. The Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital’s Dance and Drama group are putting on a special performance during the opening bringing to life the effects of hearing loss and demonstrating how audiology can make a real difference to those affected by this disability.

Many people affected by hearing loss in Southern Malawi live a very long way from the clinic in Blantyre but Sound Seekers endeavours to ensure access to specialist audiology services even for those in remote communities. The charity has recently secured a new and improved HARK (Hearing Assessment and Research Vehicle) for the audiology clinic, funded by the people of the island of Jersey through JOAC (Jersey Overseas Aid Commission). This specialist 4×4 vehicle has an audio trailer fully equipped with soundproof booths. Using this vehicle, specialist teams can reach remote communities preventing hearing loss wherever possible by treating infections and illnesses and helping those already deafened with the fitting of hearing aids.

Dr Courtney Caron (drcourtney@sound-seekers.org.uk)

http://www.bespoke.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5111

Renee’s three months volunteering experience in Malawi

Renee’s three months volunteering experience in Malawi

2016 got off to a great start. I was privileged with the opportunity to volunteer with Sound Seekers in Malawi for three months. The team at Sound Seekers, in the UK and in Malawi, was fantastic in preparing me for the trip and providing support throughout.

My time in Malawi was my first time in an African Country. I have previously worked in remote areas of Australia with limited resources and high incidences of poor ear and hearing health. I knew Malawi was going to be quite different, but felt my previous experiences helped to prepare me for what lay ahead.

My role was to work with the Audiology Officers and provide training, particularly with Paediatric patients (electrophysiology, VRA, Play Audiometry).   The biggest challenge I faced was my ability to refer Deaf patients on for other services due to the lack of resources available. My skills of adaptability and flexibility were definitely enhanced in this role.

Renee working at the audiology clinic  Renee, Louis and Prisca

There were many highlights to the experience. Working with a wonderful, dedicated group of clinicians (Malawian and international), learning about Malawian culture and a few words in Chichewa, meeting people from all over the world, and having the opportunity to explore the country on weekends.

This experience has opened my eyes to the principals of Global Health and introduced me to a Country and Continent I knew little about, whilst making some amazing friends along the way. I would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone who is seeking a sense of adventure and both personal and professional growth.

I would like to thank Sound Seekers, Dr. Courtney Caron and the listeners at BBC Radio 4 for all their support.

Renee Garuccio, Australia

Renee getting ear impressions for Happy

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