By Pediatric Audiologist Anita Stein-Meyers
I’ve been volunteering for over four years with Mayflower Medical Outreach, collaborating with a group of dedicated professionals to bring deaf education, ENT care and hearing health care to Nicaragua. Our clinic is based in the city of Jinotega, which lies in a valley in the northern central region of the country. Mayflower’s audiology team makes multiple mission trips a year, evaluating and treating patients with all degrees of hearing loss. My most recent trip included an additional purpose. We introduced a newborn hearing screening program, the first of its kind in Nicaragua.
With grant funding, the Mayflower team provided training to medical doctors based in very rural parts of the country, to enable the beginning of a newborn hearing screening program that is hospital based with follow up at local community health centers. This grant covered the purchase of several pieces of equipment with the ultimate goal being the expansion of the program to all hospitals and health centers. We’ll be seeking additional funding to make this happen.
This was a big first step in the process of creating a national newborn hearing screening program. The medical professionals who took part in the training displayed a strong commitment to making this a success.
We were thrilled and honored that the US Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura Dogu, made a personal visit to our local audiology clinic. We hope that brings attention to the program and an understanding of the difference it can make in the lives of Nicaragua’s children.
Thank you to all the volunteers and medical staff for your incredible partnership!