With the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that as much as 40% of all hearing loss in Namibia could be prevented, now there is new hope in the formation of the Association for Children with Language, Speech and Hearing Impairments (CLaSH) whose aim is to provide information and raise awareness about hearing loss, in part by building a contact network and providing aids to hearing impaired citizens of this country in southwestern Africa.

Provision of medication and other assistance for people with hearing difficulties is insufficient in Namibia because of a deficient infrastructure. Often, common diseases, such as malaria and meningitis result in hearing damage.

CLaSH will offer contacts and referrals to treatment centers, hold workshops for parents of hearing impaired children, coordinate the dispensing of hearing aids, and organize informational campaigns. Posters have been produced in the six languages spoken in Namibia for a campaign involving radio and television, as well.

In an operation dubbed "Operation Omakutsi" German hearing specialists traveled to Namibia to perform inner ear surgery for free. Namibian doctors assisted in the operations, gaining valuable practical experience and knowledge, which, in turn, will benefit future treatment of hearing impairment in Namibia.

The Hearing Assessment and Research Center (HARK), is a mobile clinic touring the northern part of the country. Hearing screening is performed at each stop, ear infections are treated and hearing aids are fitted. The mobile HARK clinic is sponsored by the Commonwealth Society for the Deaf.

"To me, CLaSH is a channel of communication,” said a father of a hearing impaired child in a film documentary about the organization. However, the longer term existence of this channel is uncertain, as future funding of the program has yet to be secured.

SOURCE: Hörakustik; this item modified from post found on www.hear-it.org.