CARLINGFORD ROTARY CLUB AND THE SAMOA HEARING SERVICE
A visit was made to Samoa in March 2018. Both islands (Upolu and Savaii) were visited. This was our 20th visit to Samoa since 2008. On this visit, clinics were held for four days in the Ear Nose and Throat section of the impressive new hospital in Apia, with the help of the local Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon. There has been considerable interaction with the Rotary Club of Apia and we attended a meeting of the Apia club, where we described the project.
The work was carried out with staff from the SENESE Centre for Inclusive Education in Apia, Samoa. After our last trip with an audiologist from Attune Hearing, Suzi Marcos, she made several useful suggestions about the project. As a result, a dedicated laptop computer has been set up for us to take with us to store patient data and to program hearing aids. Attune audiologist have also been collecting used hearing aids for us to use with some of the children.
Spare parts, batteries and consumable items and hearing aids were purchased from a grant from the Rotary District 9685 and the Rotary Club of Carlingford. Funds were also provided for custom-made earmoulds for children, which were essential when fitting very powerful hearing aids. We were also able to pay children and parents’ travelling expenses (some children live on the island of Savaii which is over an hour away from ferry from Savaii where we run the clinics). This was essential for families too poor to pay the bus and ferry fares.
This trip made by my wife Cristy Newall, Sarah Love (an audiologist who works at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children) and myself was really successful. We are all audiologists and over 50 children were tested and 35 were seen in the hearing aid clinic. We had four new children who had severe hearing losses and we saw faces light up when they heard sound for the first time. Sarah Love, who is an expert on cochlear implants, reprogrammed the cochlear implants of three children.
Another aspect of the trip was the kind donation of dental equipment by John Green the Carlingford Club– a chair, a dental X-Ray machine and other items. Our club provided funds for shipping and the Rotary Club of Apia helped with Customs clearance and local transport. John Green and his wife came with us on the trip and John checked out the location at the hospital in Savaii where the equipment will be installed
We are very grateful for the support from our Rotary club and the District team, which is helping many hearing-impaired children in Samoa.
Philip and Cristy Newall