Kampala, Uganda | URN | Twenty three Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers attached to Mubende Rehabilitation Center have received hearing devices worth Shillings 92 million, thanks to Starkey Hearing Foundation.
The soldiers received the devices at a two day’s health camp held at Naranbhai Road Primary School in Jinja district.
The beneficiaries are former African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) combatants who suffered hearing impairments following consistent exposure to explosions in war torn Somalia.
One of the beneficiaries told this publication on condition of anonymity since he isn’t authorised to speak to the media that he has been living with hearing problems for the past four years.
“I represented my country under AMISOM and one day a bomb exploded near our camp, which cost me both ears to date. I could only lip-read to understand what my colleagues are discussing,” he said.
Adding that, “I was almost dying in despair as my commanders just dumped me at the rehabilitation center without any hope of ever hearing again. But it is great to say that I can hear now.”
Mohammed Kyesirikide, the Country Director Starkey Hearing Foundation, says the soldiers have been sensitized on the proper management of the hearing aid and they will freely access batteries and replacement services.
He advises the army to deploy a standby otolaryngologist mandated with managing hearing impairments in war zones.
Also 527 members of the public from different parts of Busoga region have been fitted with hearing aids.
Kyesirikidde says Starkey Hearing Foundation conducted a study in Jinja, Kamuli and Iganga districts, which confirmed that 85% of the hearing impairment cases result poor management.
A report by World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that 360 million people across the globe suffer hearing loss due to either exposure to unfriendly sounds or failure to treat infections.