No fewer than 850 hearing impaired persons in Enugu have so far received free hearing aids worth N850 million from a US-based non-governmental organisation, Starkey Hearing Foundation, an official has said.
Salako said: “One device costs about N500,000 and we are giving two per person.
“So it is safe to say that we are investing about N850 million in this project in Enugu.
“This is not a one-off thing as the device is very complex and its servising is also expensive.
“We have a standby team that will be following up on all the beneficiaries monthly to ascertain if they had challenges using it.”
He described the gesture as part of the mandates of the foundation, saying: “The foundation is in the field of ear and hearing care built on the maxim: “so the world may hear”.
“It is meant to provide the gift of hearing to the world.”
The coordinator said that the foundation, formed by William Franklin Austin, had developed and implemented its community-based hearing health programme in 64 countries.
He said that the project came to Nigeria in 2017 in partnership with Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation.
“In 2018, we signed a partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health to help them develop a strategic plan on hearing and health care.
“What we are doing here today is the strategic delivery of one of our mandates, which is free distribution of hearing aids to the hearing impaired.
“In doing this, we develop a community-based approach by training local workers in the provision of basic health and hearing care services to the people of their community,” Salako said.
He further said that most of the hearing loss cases could be prevented, if local health workers were trained on such services.
He gave assurance that the foundation would continue to assist the beneficiaries in changing damaged devices as long as the project remained in Nigeria.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Augustine Udeh, said that he was grateful to the foundation for giving him the opportunity to overcome his hearing challenges.
Udeh said that the device was very effective and thanked the foundation for bringing the programme to the state.