A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Vintage Hearing Foundation, in partnership with the Hearing Rotary Action Group, at the weekend, donated 100 hearing aids worth N50 million to the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State.
According to the Founder-Secretary of Vintage Hearing Foundation, Omotunde Olayinka Balogun, the hearing aids, which will be distributed to patients free of charge, were initiated to commemorate this year’s World Hearing Day.
Balogun, while appealing to the government to initiate policies that will benefit those with hearing impairment, said: “The Hearing Rotary Action Group has given us hearing aids—300 in all. A total of 100 hearing aids will be distributed to the beneficiaries.”
“Hearing aids are very expensive, and hearing disability is an expensive venture. Both the hearing aid and its repair are very expensive. One hearing aid costs N500,000. So, the total cost for the hundred is N50 million. There are not many people who can afford to pay that amount. That is why the NGO is working in partnership with the Rotary Action Group and the Rotary Club of Abuja Metro to give hearing aids for free to beneficiaries.
“To detect hearing defects early, we want to do tests for pupils who are entering school, so that if there is a problem, it can be detected at that stage and can be solved at an early stage because, when this problem is detected on time, it will help the child attain the fullness of his or her potential.
“We are not getting all the assistance from the government. A policy was developed on hearing, and we have not heard anything on it. So, we need to keep talking both to the people and the government itself. Hearing is what we call a hidden disability, because you don’t even see it. For a long time, the government dealt only with deafness.
The former Assistant Governor, District 9125, Meyeyin Kelvin, who represented the District Governor, Goody Nnamdi, stated the gesture was in tandem with Rotary’s mission of easing the livelihood of the needy in society.
On his part, the Vice Chancellor of UNIMED, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, said: “We understand the enormity of the financial burden of this task of providing free medical services. Notwithstanding, we are truly determined to make it a reality. Today, we take a leap into this reality for individuals with hearing loss, particularly those without financial power for hearing intervention services.”
“The University of Medical Sciences is on an enduring path of progress, and this year’s World Hearing Day celebration shall be the least ever witnessed in our institution.”
Also, the Head of Department, Audiology and Speech Language Therapy, UNIMED, Prof. Dele Owolawi, emphasized the need for everyone to maintain proper ear care and to be mindful of the side effects of drugs they take.
“This is important because we have been able to raise awareness about ear care. People don’t bother with respect to ear care, but we have been able to sensitize them to the reasons why we need to care for our ears.
“The problem with us in Africa is that we self-medicate a lot. I’m not condemning herbs. You know that every root and every leaf have some element of toxicity. So, moderation is the essence.
“We have to advise parents to seek medical care from properly trained individuals. Drugs also have their own side effects. We need to know that we are aware and knowledgeable enough to ask questions. We don’t even ask doctors questions on the side effects of drugs prescribed for us.”