Harare Hospital scores a first with ear clinic

Source: Harare Hospital scores a first with ear clinic | The Herald June 25, 2016

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Harare Children’s Hospital, in partnership with a non-governmental organisation WizEar, has opened a new clinic specialising in diagnosis and treatment of children with ear, nose and throat conditions. The clinic, which is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and in Africa, is expected to offer consultation services to over 6 000 patients, and assess over 2 500 audiology cases over the next three years.

It is also expected to consult over 2 500 cases of children with speech difficulties and conduct about 1 400 paediatric ear, nose and throat surgeries.

In addition, about 1 000 people with hearing problems are expected to benefit from hearing assistive devices over the same period.

Apart from setting up the audiology unit, the whole project looks forward to improve ear medical care in six provincial hospitals across the country, through the provision of medical equipment and training of health personnel.

Officially opening the unit in Harare yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the project was made possible through a donation of 660 000 euros by the German Cooperation and the Christian Blind Mission.

The Beit Trust also donated audiology equipment worth nearly $65 000 through the Harare Children’s Hospital Trust. Dr Parirenyatwa applauded the assistance from the all the partners saying it fell within his ministry’s vision of providing quality health services to the people.

“Through collaborations such as this one, Government is finding creative and innovative ways of increasing access to quality healthcare services for our population. We look forward to more such collaborations between non-governmental organisations and Government institutions,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Dr Parirenyatwa said at least 6,8 percent of all children in Zimbabwe suffer from ear problems – a figure that is higher than the regional prevalence rate of about 6 percent.

The prevalence is even higher in children with HIV, where the prevalence rate is about 32 percent, and this further compromises their spoken language, literacy and numeracy skills.

“Children with hearing loss are prone to loneliness, social isolation, stigma and discrimination, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. This results in a poor quality of life, and decreased employability later in life,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.