BUJUMBURA November 29th (ABP) – The audiology center (KALE-B), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Fight against AIDS, organized Friday, November 26, 2021, in Bujumbura, a scientific day of audiology for its first edition, under the theme “hearing rehabilitation by prostheses, contribution of the latest scientific and technological advances.”
That day was organized for hearing health professionals and representatives of the association of those who became deaf in Burundi (ADMB) to discuss all the dimensions of hearing health in Burundi and to share and capitalize on experiences and latest scientific advances in the field of audiology.
The director general of the KALE-B center, Dr. Léonard Bivahagumye, specialist in ENT and in charge of care in this center, said that hearing health problems and deafness in Burundi as in other countries affect a large part of the population. For that reason, health professionals, decision-makers in health systems and the general public must be sensitized to find solutions, also specifying that the WHO has already given certain orientations.
Regarding technological advances in hearing rehabilitation by hearing aids, he stressed that the latter have become connected devices or sound amplifiers from which innovations have brought new hearing aids with artificial intelligence, the best sound quality and the better performance. Dr Bivahagumye took up some of the challenges that haunt the audiology sector in Burundi. These are human resource challenges, he noted, highlighting the insufficiency of ENT professionals, the lack of people trained in audiology, speech therapy, hearing aids and others.
He took the opportunity to ask the government and health decision-makers to take charge of hearing health problems as is the case for other diseases, noting that simple and effective solutions exist to correct hearing loss.
According to the representative of the ADMB, Mrs. Florida Ndahabonyumukama, people who have become hard of hearing are discriminated against in society. She set an example in the school environment where the student is often silent because he cannot hear what the teacher is saying, and the teacher cannot become attached to it since the time allotted to each lesson is limited. She clarified that in this case the end result is failure in class with all the consequences that flow from it. It is the same for other places such as care structures, families, and elsewhere.
For all these reasons, the leader of the ADMB recommends that the government of Burundi and its development partners effectively take into account the hearing impaired in all its interventions. It recommended in particular to develop a national strategy for the integration of those who have become deaf, to strengthen the material capacities of ENT departments in existing hospitals by importing high-performance equipment for various ear examinations, hearing aids and training hearing care professionals.
She lamented that hearing aids are almost non-existent or inaccessible to all hearing-impaired people, pointing out that the price of a hearing aid varies between 500,000 (five hundred thousand) to 10,000,000 (ten million) BIF. She has, in fact, requested the support or use of the Public Service Mutual in the purchase of these devices.