Hearing Help For Africa

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Advancing hearing and restoring hope in Africa.

Temporal bone lab brings hearing hope to Africa

Like many aspects of life in West Africa, otolaryngology training is difficult. Unlike the U.S., where most otolaryngology residency programs have facilities to teach temporal bone anatomy and dissection, West Africa until recently has had only a single two-station lab located in Lagos, Nigeria. As a result, basic otologic procedures such as tympanoplasty and mastoidectomy are rarely taught to residents and are only sporadically available. Read Full Article »

Return to Nigeria: Part II

In the fall of 2013, Dr. Green and a few of his staff from Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute returned (or went for the first time!) to Nigeria to check up on their patients and train the medial community in Jos. In Part I, Dr. Green explained more about the work his team is doing. In this Q&A post with Dr. Green, learn about the cultural differences his team encountered. Q: What is a major difference, medically, than in the United States? A: There’s a lot of ignorance even within the medical community. For instance, in Nigeria, after you graduate from medical school, you go to a village and provide medical care for a year. You’re fresh out of medical school and doing some fairly advanced types of things, and that’s tough to do. And basically, there’s no medical liability, so people often end up doing things in a way that perhaps isn’t right. Q: What is a major difference, culturally, than in the United States? A: We saw things that most people don’t realize actually happen. We call them these, oh, my, moments. You slap yourself in the face and think, did I really see that? For instance, we were driving from the capitol to Jos and we saw this guy who had just part of a cow hooked on with bungee cords to his motorcycle, including the tail. It’s seems strange, disgusting even, to us, and we think, oh my goodness. But that’s what you see sometimes. Stuff like that. Q: How do you see the communities working together in Nigeria? A: People help each other out there. They don’t save their money for retirement, they don’t put it in the bank; they give it to one another. People go to their friends and raise money for these surgeries. Nigeria is an interesting place; you just don’t know what’s going to happen the next day. But the people are some of the most grateful folks I’ve ever seen, and that’s rewarding. It’s very humbling how grateful they are.

Return to Nigeria: Part I

In the fall of 2013, Dr. Green and a few of his staff from Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute returned (or went for the first time!) to Nigeria to check up on their patients and train the medial community in Jos. In these two Q&A posts with Dr. Green, find out about the work conducted during the trip as well as the cultural differences his team encountered. Q: What have you been doing in Nigeria on most of your trips? A: We’ve been seeing potential patients whom we could bring to Florida for surgery; getting the lab established; setting up the Internet and teleconferences; often it’s basic administrative stuff like that. Q: You mentioned the lab. What is involved in setting up the lab? A: Well, the lab is going to be named for Dr. Jack Hough, of Oklahoma City, OK. He was the man responsible for my interest in ear surgery when I first started out. The lab will be named The Jack and Jodie Hough Lab, in Jos, Nigeria, in honor of Jack and his wife. Q: What are your goals for the work you are doing in Nigeria? A: My short-term goal is to teach doctors how to perform procedures. My long-term goals are much deeper: Share the gospel, proclaiming Christ’s name across the nation. Generate government interest in advancing its country’s medical communities. Help the local university develop audiology and speech pathology programs, and later a school of oral auditory education. Q: What are the interests of Nigeria’s medical community? A: Doctors are really interested in cochlear implants. It’s the only sensory apparatus that has the bionic fix to it. It’s been around for 40 years, so the potential of finally having it come to their country is intriguing to them. We’ll support the doctors remotely and by making periodic trips over there. Q: How do you support the doctors remotely? A: We had a Nigerian audiometrician visit our office, as seen in the video post. His name is Ben; he does the troubleshooting for the hearing aids and cochlear implants in Nigeria, working virtually with our audiologists at JHBI. Most of the problems are in the external port (the processor), and those can be worked through remotely.

5 Nigerians visit Jacksonville, FL

A visit to the United States gave these five Nigerians more than just a new cultural experience; it gave two of them their hearing. Watch the video below to find out more about their trip, and how the group is using their experience to help others back home.

Update on Samuel Ochenehi in Nigeria

Samuel Ochenehi has begun the next phase of his training and is now working in the pediatric surgical unit at the Jos Teaching Hospital in Nigeria. In this photo, Samuel is overseeing a little girl, who is a 22-day old neonate, born with a defect on her anterior abdominal wall.  She is being managed as a case of Omphaloco. We are all so proud of Samuel and feel confident he will be excellent with the kids.

Dr. J. Douglas Green shares his knowledge and skill.

Dr. J. Douglas Green, Jr., founder of Hearing Help for Africa and owner of Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute in Jacksonville, Florida, is pictured here with Ben Babson, an audiology technician from the Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos, Nigeria. Also pictured is Audu ­­­­­­­­­­­­Modu who is an ENT Surgical Assistant from Bingham University Teaching Hospital in Jos plateau state, Jibrin, Nigeria. It is their hope that by learning skills under the supervision of Dr. Green, they can return to their country with knowledge that has never been utilized in Nigeria.  Dr. Green plans to continue assisting them via email and video conferencing from the states.

Hadassah continues to improve

Before heading back to Nigeria.  Hadassah is tested on final time at The Hearing Center, Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute, Jacksonville, FL.  by Audiologist, Jacque Olson.  

Young Nigerian Child has a successful Cochlear Implant!

Hadassah Alexander is a 3.5 year old female from Nigeria who was born with hearing, but following an illness shortly after birth, she became deaf. With no hearing, she has not learned to talk and no formal sign language was available. With the assistance of Dr. J. Douglas Green and the Hearing Help for Africa, Hadassah came to the United States and received a cochlear implant to the right ear on February 12, 2013. One week later, the implant was activated and Hadassah heard the sound of her mother, Maryam’s voice for the first time. Hadassah smiled and laughed, especially when hearing her foot steps on the tile floor. She was intrigued with noise toys and the sound of jingle bells.

Samuel send message back to Florida

A message from Samuel Ochenehi to Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute, Jacksonville, FL:   “Using the CI and E-scope has greatly enhanced my effectiveness as a house officer in Juth. Many thanks to Dr. Green and Kelley for getting me the E-scope. To Allison, thanks for always being there despite the distance, you have always kept in touch. Warm regards to everyone at JHBI, I miss ya all tons!”   ~Samuel

UPDATE on Emmanuel Odido from Jos, Nigeria

Emmanuel Odido appears here in a class photo with some children at the Otona School, Jos, Nigeria. He reports that he is doing well, still trying to adjust with being in class with children that are so much younger than he him. He says that it’s hard to focus on the lessons because the other children are a lot younger and cause distractions for him.  But he reports that his teacher, Moses, is a GREAT teacher and that she is also hearing impaired and wears hearing aids. As you can see, Emmanuel continues to wear his new cochlear implant and if you’ll notice the ear phones hanging from his neck, it shows that he’s also using it to enjoy the sounds of music through the implant!