Over a thousand get hearing aids in Rwanda


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Less than 20 years after the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the country relies on international aid in many areas, particularly to help those with specific needs. The USA-based charity, Starkey Hearing Foundation, has been particularly active in the country since 2011 as part of its Africa program.

Over a thousand people in the Northern and Western provinces were fitted with hearing aids in a recent screening program carried out by the organization in late November. With the aim of identifying those in most need of hearing aids or other treatment, the program brings together audiologists from the Starkey Foundation and their Rwandan counterparts. There are very few qualified audiologists in the country. The campaign also enables Rwandan physicians to exchange knowledge with more experienced specialists from the Foundation.

"We treat the patients for free because the founder believes everyone has a right to hear and decided to use his money to support people with hearing impairments," says Olive Umusoni, the Hearing Health Coordinator in Rwanda. Many of the treated patients have never heard before they receive the hearing aids. Follow-up is also provided in the event patients may develop a complication.

Earlier this year, former US President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea joined the Foundation’s team of hearing professionals on one of their campaigns to Zambia and Rwanda, to draw attention to the Foundation’s global fight against hearing loss. Starkey is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and aims to provide 1 million hearing aids to people in need this decade.

Source: AllAfrica; Starkey Hearing Foundation