Zimbabwean communities to get access to quality and affordable hearing health care from WizEar

By Wallace Mawire

WizEar, a not-for-profit organization is Zimbabwe is intensifying its operations to capacitate communities in the country to get access to quality and affordable hearing health care.
   According to Lucia Nkomo, WizEar, Programme Director, the organization  is legally registered and operating across Zimbabwe.

  “We have an MOU with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and our main mandate is to ensure that people in Zimbabwe get access to quality but affordable ear and hearing health
care,” she said.

  On recently the organization held a week-long training at a local hotel for 35 health personnel who were previously trained in 2018.

  The objectives of the follow-up training is to assess how much knowledge the participants have as well as identifying any gaps in implementation.Participants were drawn from Midlands
Province, Mashonaland   Central, Manicaland, Bulawayo, Harare, Matebeleland South and Matebeleland North province.Topics covered included pathologies of the ear, structure and function of the ear, causes of hearing Loss, ear syringing and skills, principles of paediatric Audiology including peer to peer practice.
  According to Nkomo, Wizear uses four main pillars in its implementation which include assessing if the previously trained Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) personnel from the different provinces still have the knowledge on ENT issues, equipping  the previously trained cadres with new ENT knowledge, technical skills and boosting their morale.

  It also provides a platform for the cadres to share success stories, challenges and
solutions to identified gaps in ENT health service delivery, learning of new topics such as fitting and maintaining of hearing aids, choosing focal persons per every province so that they will create
linkages between WizEar, the province and districts throughout the country.

  It is reported that to date,Wizear has trained over 700 health professionals in basic
ENT and Primary Ear and Hearing health Care and this has helped in
having services available in various areas.

  The recent recent training programme  was  a Refresher course for 35 health personnel from six provincial hospitals .

  The participants were trained by WizEar in 2018 and they
also received basic Audiology equipment for their institutions.

  “This has resulted in a rise in ENT cases across the country as people now
try to get access to medical care at their nearest hospitals. Wizear
has also come up with an ENT Foundation Course workbook which is used
in the various hospitals and clinic,” Nkomo said.

  It is added that annually Wizear conducts a five day training in Public Health Planning in Prevention of Hearing Impairment (PHPHI).

  It is further added that through the course Wizear has managed to reach
out to participants from in and out of Zimbabwe including Kenya, Madagascar,
Botswana, SA and Mozambique. The course is run in conjunction with
the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines (LSHTM) and the
University of Zimbabwe.
   Wizear uses four main pillars in its implementation which include infrastructure focusing on installation and equipping of ENT units across provincial hospitals.

  The organization also installed a state of the art Paediatric ENT unit at Sally Mugabe Hospital.

  “This serves as a referral point or ENTt cases from all over Zimbabwe. In a country that
has less than 12 ENTt specialists, Wizear has managed to ensure that the
President’s mantra of devolution is realised as they cascade service
delivery to provincial and district hospitals,” Nkomo said.

  On Service Delivery, Wizear provides quality low costs hearing aids,
batteries and hearing aid care. It has also constructed an ear mould
laboratory  for trouble shooting hearing aids as well as making of ear moulds.
  “This has greatly assisted Hearing Impaired  patients in cutting turn around time and
costs,”Nkomo said.
  On advocacy, Wizear has managed to initiate a National Strategy
Document for Prevention of Hearing Loss and the document was adapted
and ratified by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

 “This makes us the fourth country in the Southern African  Region to have such an important document.The document is being used as an advocacy tool to lobby government to prioritise Ear
and Hearing Issues. This means they also consider having a budget line
for Ear and Hearing Care,” Nkomo said.

  WizEar was founded  by Dr Clemence Chidziva, an Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon.According to Nkomo, he is the visionary behind WizEar.He is also reported to have founded the organization with another ENT Specialist colleague Professor  Chris Prescott.

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