We are happy to announce the launch of our new Audiology Clinic at Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital (ADH) in Ndola, Zambia, which was officially opened on 20th June 2019. This is an incredible achievement as we celebrate the opening of a second audiology clinic in a government hospital in Zambia.
The new audiology service is fully equipped to complete hearing assessments for adults and children and includes an ear mould lab to fit hearing aids for those identified with hearing loss, which is currently being led by our volunteer Audiologist, Matt Clarkson, who has been in Ndola since February overseeing the setup of the new audiology clinic (you can read Matt’s blog on his experience volunteering here).
As part of the project, we have sponsored one of the nurses from ADH to study for a year at the University of Nairobi for a Diploma in Clinical Audiology and Public Health Otology, who will return to ADH later this year to lead the audiology services going forward.
We would like to say a special thank you to Jersey Overseas Aid for their generously funding this project as without their support, none of this work would be possible.
Additionally, we would like to say a massive thank you to all the team at ADH and our volunteer Audiologist Matt, for all their hard work in the set-up of the clinic.
Since the clinic opened in June, over 50 patients have already been seen and those identified with hearing loss have received the appropriate management.
On World Hearing Day 2018, March 3rd 2018, The World Health Organisation (WHO) draws attention towards the anticipated rise in the number of people with hearing loss across the world with the theme “Hear the future”. In particular, drawing attention to the:
expected rise in prevalence of hearing loss globally over the coming years
efforts that are required to stem the rise through appropriate preventive action
need to ensure that people with hearing loss have access to the required rehabilitation services and the communication tools and products they require.
WHO estimates in 2018, over 466 million people live with disabling hearing loss. It is predicted that by 2050 nearly one in ten people will have hearing loss. Two thirds of people with hearing loss live in developing countries where access to audiology services is usually limited or non-existent.
Sound Seekers delivers practical solutions to enable people with hearing loss in Africa to realise their rights and gain access to healthcare and education.
To celebrate World Hearing Day 2018 we want to share with you Shine’s heart-warming story to demonstrate the impact of our work and to ask for your help to continue our work.
Shine is three years old and had her hearing assessed for the first time last November at the new Children’s Hearing Clinic in Lusaka. Her mother brought her to the clinic due to her delayed speech but she did not realise this could be linked to hearing loss. She was first assessed by Sound Seekers Volunteer Audiologist, Bhavisha Parmar.
Bhavisha Parmar is a Paediatric Audiologist from the UK, who volunteered for Sound Seekers for a year in 2017, and is now a Special Advisor for Sound Seekers. Bhavisha set up the first Children’s Hearing Clinic in University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka last year. This is the first paediatric clinic of its kind in Zambia, which is fully equipped to assess the hearing of children at risk of hearing loss and provide the necessary hearing aid fittings, follow up and rehabilitation. Since Bhavisha left, the clinic is being led by local staff at University Teaching Hospital, and the newly training local Audiology Technician sponsored by Sound Seekers.
When Shine was first assessed, there were no risk factors for hearing loss in her medical history so Bhavisha proceeded to perform play audiometry (a technique used to test hearing of young children to respond to sounds as part of a game). The results confirmed Shine has severe Sensorineural hearing loss in both ears, normal tympanograms and absent otoacoustic emissions.
Impressions of her ears were taken to make custom ear moulds and she was fitted with brand new hearing aids (donated to Sound Seekers from Hear the World Foundation). Shine’s reaction to the sounds around her surprised Shine’s mother and Bhavisha, as Shine immediately tried vocalising to hear her own voice. Bhavisha told us:
“Shine’s name can be used to describe her smile as she was definitely a shining light in our clinic that day”
You can watch the moment Shine has her hearing aids fitted here:
Bhavisha taught Shine’s how to use the hearing aids and she was booked in for a follow up appointment to review Shine’s progress.
When Shine returned for her follow-up appointment at the Children’s Hearing Clinic, Shine’s mother was extremely pleased with her progress and has become very confident with inserting the hearing aids and switching them on and off.
Thanks to the Sound Seekers and Hear the World Foundation’s donated hearing aids, Shine has hearing aids that even light up to alert her mother that the battery is running low, which she is really pleased about. Shine’s mother explained to Bhavisha that Shine points at her hearing aids as soon as she wakes up and gestures that they need to be put in her ears. Data logging on the hearing aid software at her follow up appointment showed that Shine had been wearing the hearing aids for 11 hours per day! Bhavisha was thrilled about this:
“I high fived her mother as soon as I saw that she had been wearing her hearing aids for 11 hours every day since her fitting!”
When Bhavisha was examining the hearing aids and connecting them to my computer she felt a nudge from little Shine, making it very clear she just wanted them back in her ears! Aided testing showed she was getting great benefit from the hearing aids and she was very vocal in the clinic and even left saying “bye bye”.
We look forward to sharing news of Shine’s progress in the future.
“My time volunteering in Zambia for Sound Seekers has been amazing and being able to help bring out the shine in Shine has been one of the best moments”.
On the 27th October 2017, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Volunteer Audiologist, Bhavisha Parmar, the Children’s Hearing Clinic in University Teaching Hospital (UTH) was officially opened by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr Jabbin Mulwanda.
This is the first paediatric clinic of its kind in Zambia, which is fully equipped to assess the hearing of children at risk of hearing loss and provide the necessary hearing aid fittings, follow up and rehabilitation.
It was a day to remember for our Volunteer Audiologist Bhavisha as all her hard work and preparation over the past few months paid off, at the successful official launch:
“I didn’t quite realise what I was getting myself into when I proposed the idea of having a big opening ceremony of the Children’s Hearing Clinic and it took on a whole different life when the Ministry of Health suggested I link it with the launch of the first ever Ear, Nose and Throat Strategic Health Plan.”
The launch was well attended with over 120 people including: was officially opened by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr Jabbin Muluwanda.
The launch was a huge success, with 120 people attending including Sound Seekers CEO Emma Judge, the British High Commissioner to Zambia, CEO of Beit Cure Hospital, CBM Country Director, Senior Medical Superintendent of UTH, President of Zambia National Association of the Deaf, and representatives from the Ministry of Education.
During the launch, Bhavisha took to the podium and spoke of ‘The Need, The Now and Next for Audiology services in Zambia. You can watch Bhavisha’s Speech here:
She was followed by Sound Seekers CEO, Emma Judge, who spoke about this great achievement
A speech was also conducted by the Permanent Secretary of Health services on how the Ministry of Health were committed to supporting the growth of audiology services in Zambia and the importance of the ENT strategic plan. He spoke on behalf of the Minister of Health, whose speech included this paragraph which was followed by great applause:
“It has come at a great time when we are restructuring the health sector, and I am glad to inform this meeting…that positions for ENT have been established in all our provisional centres. But most importantly, for this gathering, is that audiology positions have also been included in the current structure”
After the speeches, Bhavisha along with others in attendance were then led to the new Children’s Hearing clinic after Dr Muluwanda cut the ribbon that was placed around a bound copy of the ENT plan to officially mark its launch.
You can watch the cutting of the ribbon of the Children’s Hearing Clinic here:
Bhavisha described this memorable moment and her excitement for the future of Zambian audiology and ENT services.
“I was relieved and excited for the future of Zambian audiology and ENT services. The opening ceremony of a clinic is very much just the beginning and commitment is needed at a government level to ensure the continual growth of services with adequate follow up and support for children with hearing loss as well as their families.”
We would like to thank everyone who supported and attended the launch, making it possible for children with hearing loss in Lusaka to gain access to much needed audiology services. Thank you.
You can read Bhavisha’s full blog post of the lead up to the Launch on her fantastic journey of her year in Zambia here.
Update on our project in Zambia where we are screening primary school children for hearing loss in Ndola District with our HARK vehicle (provides mobile audiology services to remote and rural areas).
Thanks to the support of the People of the Island of Jersey, we began a project this year improving infrastructure at two mainstream schools with deaf units in Zambia and supporting targeted outreach screening to mainstream primary schools within the Ndola District to enable the early identification and treatment of hearing loss amongst children in Grade 1 at mainstream schools.
The project is underway and we are pleased to share photos from the recent outreach visits to Primary Schools in Ndola, including at Chilengwa, Chitetekelo and Kaloko Primary Schools and Daycare Special School for children with learning disabilities.
Using our HARK Vehicle, the Audiology team from Ndola Central Hospital are providing weekly outreach visits to screen children in mainstream schools within Ndola District for hearing loss in Grade 1 (also accompanied by Optometrists to screen for vision-related problems). Up to 187 children have been screened for hearing loss at each school.
Our Volunteer Paediatric Audiologist in Zambia, Bhavisha Parmar, tells us about the first hearing aid fitting for 8 year old Emmanuel, at the newly established Children’s Hearing Clinic in Lusaka, Zambia.
“Since I arrived here in Zambia in January so much work has gone towards creating a clinic to assess the hearing of children at risk of hearing loss and providing the necessary hearing aid fittings, follow up and rehabilitation. Since the Children Hearing Clinic’s opening in June 2017, I have been inundated with patients, questions about hearing loss/ear health and I have now seen 40 patients for audiological assessments. As I sit here now, in what used to be a storage unit, I am overwhelmed at the response and the interest and I just hope it continues to grow as we raise awareness of the impact of hearing loss.
“Today marks the beginning of International Week of the Deaf. Today is extra special as I completed this clinic’s first hearing aid fitting. Emmanuel Mubiana is 8 years old and struggling significantly in grade two of primary school. His parents heard about this clinic and made an appointment as it was becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with their son. Emmanuel was very shy and reserved and getting bullied at school as a result. I assessed Emmanuel 2 weeks ago and found he had a bilateral moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss, his parents assume this was from birth. Today he was fitted with bilateral digital hearing aids from the hearing aid refurbishment programme (HARP) and he was able to have a conversation with his father without the help of lip-reading for the first time.
“My work since January was meant for moments like today. Emmanuel enjoyed learning how to use his hearing aids and the family understood that this is the start of a new journey for them. They will be back to see me in two weeks’ time for a follow up appointment to check Emmanuel’s progress. It is wonderful to see a project come together and I am really enjoying the day to day clinical life here in University Teaching Hospital’s first audiology department”
We are delighted to share the news of our new project increasing access to education for children with hearing loss in Ndola, in the Copperbelt Region of Zambia.
Thanks to the support of the People of the Island of Jersey, we are improving infrastructure at two mainstream schools with deaf units in Zambia and supporting targeted outreach screening to mainstream primary schools within the Ndola District to enable the early identification and treatment of hearing loss amongst children in Grade 1 at mainstream schools.
This project will:
Expand the current deaf units by constructing three new classrooms in each school at Kansenshi Basic School and Chilengwa Primary School, including teaching and learning materials.
Using our HARK Vehicle, the Audiology team from Ndola Central Hospital will provide weekly outreach visits to screen children in mainstream schools within Ndola District for hearing loss in Grade 1 (also accompanied by Optometrists to screen for vision-related problems).
Construction began last week, see the first photos below:
Watch this space for updates on the project!
Update August 2017: The photos above show an outreach visit with our HARK vehicle at Chilengwa Primary School, where 175 children in Grade 1 had their hearing screened. Our volunteer Audiologist Bhavisha was also there.
Huge thanks to the team in Ndola for their hard work on this project and to the People of the Island of Jersey for enabling this project to happen.
Wishing our brilliant volunteer Bhavisha all the best as she embarks on her year long trip to Zambia to support our work.
She graduated from University College London in 2012 with a BSc in Audiology and has since worked extensively with both the adult and paediatric population in both private and NHS sectors. Her most recent role was Senior Paediatric Audiologist with Hounslow and Richmond Community NHS trust where she lead hearing assessments of children and young people of all ages, fitted hearing aids and networked with a vast multidisciplinary team to ensure holistic and comprehensive care of children with hearing impairment as well as their families.
She has recently completed her MSc in Advanced Audiology and has previously volunteered in India providing health camps with Raleigh International, fundraised for various charities by running marathons and organised events to raise awareness of hearing impairment. Throughout her experiences she has been inspired to link her passion of audiology and development work together and this lead her to volunteer with Sound Seekers for one year in Zambia from January until December 2017.
Keep your eyes peeled for updates soon – she will be supporting many projects in Zambia including Targeted Paediatric Screening, Hearing Aid Refurbishment Project (HARP) and Diploma course!
To celebrate the last day of International Week of the Deaf 2016, we want to tell you about a Zambian patient benefiting from our pioneering work in teleaudiology!
On Thursday 8th September, 9 year old Jessy from Ndola, Zambia, benefited from Sound Seekers’ pioneering work in teleaudiology. Teleaudiology can essentially be defined as improving access to audiology services via internet based platforms, for example Skype, Team Viewer and whatsapp group chat. In Zambia, we use the teleaudiology platform at Ndola Central Hospital as a means of managing difficult patients and remote mentoring and training. Our Audiology Officer, Mr Kalwa Nsenga, had struggled to get a reliable audiology assessment when he had his first consultation with Jessy. Therefore he arranged to link up with our consultant Audiologist, Shannon Kruyt, based over 3000km away in Cape Town, South Africa.
By remote testing, Shannon was able to confirm that Jessy has a severe bilateral hearing loss and can hopefully benefit from hearing aids. She was accompanied by her aunt who needed to go and check with Jessy’s parents that they were happy for her to have hearing aids fitted. Using a combination of remote and face-to-face counselling, Mr Kalwa and Shannon advised Jessy’s aunt that her niece must be really struggling to hear in the classroom in her mainstream school and therefore dropping behind; Jessy’s aunty confirmed this.
If her parents agree, we plan to fit Jessy with hearing aids in October. Again Shannon will be able to help from a distance by programming and checking the hearing aids. Watch this space for our next update!
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.
Our HARP (hearing aid refurbishment project) team in Lusaka, Zambia, has been busy preparing orders for Ndola and Lilongwe, Malawi. Here is Gideon with the hearing aids packed up and ready to go, made as good as new for the patients who receive them!