Helping Hands for infants in Samoa

In an office building in Fagaima, Samoa, infants are now receiving hearing screenings thanks to funding from Helping Babies Hear/Helping Hands. The office is brightly painted complete with a mural of the Dumbo Disney character.

While babies are screened for hearing at birth at LBJ Medical Center, those who don’t pass their initial screenings are scheduled for follow up hearing tests at Helping Babies Hear / Helping Hands, where they are given extensive 30-40 minute audiological evaluations.

“Newborn hearing screening is essential to our children’s overall health and development, and when it is not identified, it can affect their performance in school. The sooner they are identified as far as hearing issues are concerned, the sooner we can refer them to early intervention for help with speech and language,” says Helping Babies Hear program manager, Bethany Toelupe.

Dr. Wendy Switalski has been traveling to the territory a few times a year for the past several years, where she has brought her expertise as well as diagnostic equipment to the LBJ Ear, Nose and Throat clinic. She has been instrumental in assisting the Helping Babies Hear/ Helping Hands program in its ongoing efforts to ensure that the children of the territory are given proper diagnosis and aid for hearing problems. She was joined in this effort recently by Annabelle Anae, who is of American Samoan ancestry and based in Hawaii.

Source: Samoa News

Rose Simpson