Public Health Planning for Hearing Impairment (PHPHI) Training Workshop: Empowering African Nations for Better Ear and Hearing Care

UNES Arziki Chiromo Conference was the center stage for a transformative Public Health Planning for Hearing Impairment (PHPHI) Training Workshop, held from 16th to 20th October 2023. The workshop, a collaborative effort among Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, and Nigeria, sought to bolster the region’s capacity to tackle the pressing issue of hearing impairment through an integrated public health approach.

Diving into an array of critical subjects, the workshop addressed key areas crucial for implementing effective public health strategies. The diverse agenda ranged from screening methods across different stages of life to the latest advancements in cochlear implants, particularly those from MED-EL, a renowned player in the field. Participants also delved into the intricacies of medical decision-making in the context of hearing impairment, understanding the nuanced balance between technology and patient well-being.

Under the guidance of seasoned experts, the principles and practices of public health were intricately woven into the context of hearing impairment. The role of Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) in ear and hearing care was also highlighted, shedding light on the vital connection between community involvement and sustainable progress.

The workshop garnered significant insights from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) comprehensive program on ear and hearing care, aligning regional efforts with global best practices. The integration of tele audiology and tele rehabilitation into the discourse underscored the evolving dynamics of hearing loss and its implications on cognitive health, emphasizing the need for innovative solutions.

One of the most poignant moments of the workshop was the session that showcased the personal experience of cochlear implant patients, notably featuring the compelling story of Rose Ndinda. Her journey exemplified the transformative impact of advanced medical interventions and the importance of a holistic support system for individuals grappling with hearing impairment.

At the helm of this knowledge-sharing initiative was the esteemed Prof. Andrew Smith, an Honorary Professor at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Together with an ensemble of international facilitators, Prof. Smith steered the workshop towards fostering a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted challenges associated with hearing impairment. Local support from Prof. Isaac Macharia and Serah Ndegwa added an invaluable layer of contextual expertise, grounding the discussions in the realities of the African landscape.

The PHPHI Training Workshop at the UNES Arziki Chiromo Conference served as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a more inclusive and proactive approach to hearing impairment in Africa. By equipping the participating nations with cutting-edge knowledge and practical insights, the workshop laid a robust foundation for sustained progress and collaborative action in the critical realm of ear and hearing care.

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