2018 saw great progress in the development and expansion of our programme in Kampala, Uganda.
The highlight of the year was the delivery of a comprehensive training programme sponsored by a Rotary International Vocational Training Grant. Two UK Paediatric Audiologists went out to Uganda to train various cadres of local health care workers. This included nurses, audiologists, newborn hearing screeners and a school screener.
The training began in June for three weeks duration.
IHCC Medical Director, Paul Choudhury provided an initial short training course on anatomy and physiology, pathology of ear diseases and their management.
Elhaam Hashim a Paediatric Audiologist from London followed with a two week training course on advanced paediatric audiological testing and hearing aid programming. Most of the local audiologists in Uganda have received little or no previous training in advanced paediatric audiology therefore this training was very welcome. Elhaam also provided training in the use of Oticon hearing aid software for our IHCC audiologist Josephine and our volunteer hearing aid specialist Norina. Valuable time was spent on practical speech testing sessions with some of the children who came for hearing aid reviews.
Pam Layton a Senior Paediatric Audiologist from Bedfordshire in the UK, provided training in newborn hearing screening, school hearing screening and a specific area of audiological assessment namely Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA). This test uses visual rewards i.e. puppets to condition a child to respond to sounds. The rotary grant included funding for the purchase and installation of this new piece of equipment prior to the commencement of the training programme. The VRA test is the first of its kind in Uganda and IHCC is now the only clinic providing the full pathway of free screening and audiological assessments for young children in Uganda.
The newborn hearing screening comprehensive training programme was delivered over ten days. Five health care workers were trained to become competent screeners in several health centres. There was much enthusiasm for this new programme and everyone enjoyed the training. Our audiologist Josephine provides ongoing support and assesses competency of the screeners every three months.
School screening was the shortest training programme. Due to a lack of health care workers available in the health centres to work out in the community setting, we appointed our own screener to be trained in school screening. Our school screening programme has been funded for an initial period of one year. It enables our mobile clinic to be put to regular use. We screen the children from the vehicle. The aim is to screen primary school children 6-8 years old. The main objective of the programme is to identify mild to moderate hearing loss which can impact on educational outcomes if not identified and addressed early.
As are result of this successful training programme, IHCC has employed four additional employees. Sylvia is our newly appointed School Screener, Angella is our Lead Newborn Hearing Screener and James is Driver of the Mobile Clinic.
In December we appointed a part time Clinic Clerk to take on the role of managing appointments and staff schedules.