Bukavu, DR Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has a population of over 80 million and is situated in the heart of central Africa. It has enormous mineral resources, but corruption and many years of militia and tribal violence has resulted in extreme poverty, disease and malnutrition. Congo is considered to be the poorest country in the world when GDP per capita is measured (FocusEconomics 2019). The largest UN peace keeping force in the world have their base in eastern Congo.
Poor health and hygiene, untreated disease, physical trauma and poor medical resources are a few of the reasons for the high prevalence of ear disease and hearing problems. Those who are hearing disabled are poorly treated – they are often mocked, outcast, thought to be intellectually disabled or even cursed.
Bukavu in south eastern Congo has an Ear Nose and Throat department in the General Hospital and the beginnings of an audiology clinic. Equipment has been donated and now they need a trained audiologist.
- Good diagnostic audiological testing
- Rehabilitation services for hearing impaired – working with hearing impaired adults and children and their families to support them at school and in their communities
- Community awareness – raising awareness of ear health as a measure of prevention, as well as educating people in the community about hearing loss and implications for the disabled person.
Medical Mission Aid has been the primary funding source for a student to study audiology in Kampala, Uganda. The student, Amani, was chosen for his ability, enthusiasm and good character. He has topped his class so far but has hit some obstacles with delays because of COVID–19. He is eager to return to his home in Bukavu and continue the process of setting up a specialist audiology clinic there.
The objective of this project is to train an audiologist who can oversee and drive the audiological services. He will work alongside the ENT at the General Hospital in Bukavu but also independently – testing, advising on hearing aid fitting, education needs and implementing other rehabilitation programs. Being the only audiologist in the province he will be a resource – providing advice and training to others.