21st-28th April 2018, the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services, Special Needs Unit in collaboration with the Department of Education and Special Ed Officer welcomed Entheos, a group of volunteer audiologists through 1 World Foundation, an international non-profit charitable corporation comprised of volunteers from New York State, USA and Ontario, Canada. Their one week has truly been a success.
This initiative is in keeping with the Special Needs Units early detection and intervention strategy through the implementation of a national hearing assessment for all children aged four years plus, commencing with the Government schools. During this visit 358 persons were assessed, and persons requiring hearing devices were fitted with hearing aids. This visit was indeed successful. Of importance, foreign objects such as sea shells, beads, peas along with years of hard wax were removed from some individuals’ ears.
It is the belief of Entheos that everyone deserves access to hearing healthcare. This is done through three pillars:
1. Leadership Through Service;
2. Positive Objectivity &
According to the World Health Organization, more than 360 million people worldwide have a disabling hearing loss. Millions go without basic hearing healthcare which impact their lives. A teacher assisted by Entheos in Guatemala said it best, “not being able to hear is like being dead”. If an adult cannot hear, they tend to withdraw, potentially suffer from depression and disconnect from their community as well as it being a safety issue. For kids, it is even more important. If a child cannot hear, it impedes their ability to communicate and learn. Kids cannot go to school, make friends or have basic interaction. In many places throughout the world, this severely limits their future potential.
One of the most important programmes of Entheos’ is humanitarian hearing trips, providing sustainable hearing healthcare. This is done in three stages:
1. Relief, development and empowerment. Entheos provides immediate relief in the aforementioned areas; as well as return for maintenance and upkeep as hearing devices need to be checked. Entheos believes in providing best practices for everyone they serve and that includes hearing aid maintenance.
2. Development- Entheos works with local governments and healthcare providers so they can provide hearing healthcare services in between humanitarian trips.
3. Empowerment allows local caregivers the ability to meet the needs of an area.
Interim CEO Nora Stewart said; “Entheos Audiology Cooperative is honored to work with children and adults to screen and treat their hearing. In the past three days, we have seen 293 persons many of whom now hear better after receiving treatment. We have identified one of the largest problems to be people trying to clean their ears using cotton swabs. This does not clean their ears but rather has a negative impact by pushing the wax farther into their ears. We also saw returning patients who received hearing aids last year needing service and maintenance for their hearing aids. The Entheos team has enjoyed working on the beautiful islands in Turks and Caicos, but even more beautiful than the waters is the spirit of the people. We want to thank the government for the opportunity.”
Last year 88 persons were assessed and thirty-nine persons fitted with hearing aids. The Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services, Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture and Library Services in collaboration with 1 World Foundation and are committed to developing sustainable programs for people with Special Needs in Turks and Caicos Islands.
For information please contact the Special Needs Unit at 338-2171.