US volunteer brigade brings humanitarian audiology to Nicaragua


© Jyn Meyer- Sxc

An under-the-radar US volunteer brigade of ENT specialists has this month given some 400 people treatment and surgery as part of a humanitarian effort the country's hearing health must rely on.

The second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Nicaragua, has a population of just over six million. It has had to rely heavily on outside help and humanitarian efforts to cope with a hearing health panorama lacking public programmes for such basics now taken for granted by wealthier countries: audiology training and certification, and newborn or school hearing screening. The Central American nation also has a chronic shortage of qualified hearing health personnel.

But for some 20 years, ENT patients in often-remote Nicaraguan populations have received the help of this volunteer team. Its visits number two or three a year. This month, it worked in the cities of Jinotega, León, and Estelí.

One of its coordinators, Dr. Karen Mojica, told ABC Radio, Estelí, that the brigade saw 180 patients in Jinotega, as well as fitting 70 patients with hearing aids. Its specialists also performed 24 complex otological operations for patients in the city.

In León a further 90 audiology patients were seen, while functional endoscopic sinus surgery was carried out on 20 more. Patients were also seen in Estelí.

Source: Radio ABC Estelí