MONROVIA – Six (6) Liberian health practitioners have been awarded a one-year scholarship by Church Aid Incorporated (CAI) with funding from the Starkey Hearing Foundation and collaborating partners based in the United States to attend the Starkey Hearing Institute in Lusaka, Zambia…
Four out of the six health workers are expected to depart Liberia on February 16, 2023, are Magdalene Konneh from the John F Kennedy Hospital; Hannah Newah, Liberian Government Hospital, Tubmanburg, Bomi County; Moses Bimah and Dargai Porkpali, both from Curran Lutheran Hospital, Lofa County.
Speaking during the visit of Don Martin and a delegation from Minnesota, United States held in Brewerville, the Chairman of the board of Directors of Church Aid Incorporated, Bishop Kortu Brown, lauded the partnership with Starkey Hearing Foundation in the United States for this groundbreaking opportunity intended to contribute to the promotion of ear and hearing care intervention in Liberia.
He praised Mr. Don Martin, a native of the State of Minnesota visiting Liberia for collaborating with Church Aid in ensuring that the first batch of Liberian health professionals departs Liberia for training in Zambia.
Bishop Brown called on the Ministry of Health for a concerted partnership in making the dream of advancing hearing healthcare in the country and appealed national legislature to support the campaign to sustain ear and hearing care intervention through budgetary allotment in order to train more technicians and to establish a similar institution in Liberia.
According to him, there is a need to send more medical practitioners to the Starkey Hearing Institute for training so as to deploy them in hospitals and communities around the country in order to address the hearing loss being experienced by many ordinary people who do not have the means to travel abroad for treatment.
Earlier in remarks, An American humanitarian, Don Martin, who champions on behalf of Church Aid the collaboration of the program including fundraising with Starkey Hearing Foundation (SHF) in the United States praised the efforts of Church Aid to champion critical healthcare, ear-and-hearing intervention in Liberia and hope that the training of the first Liberians will create the avenue for hearing healthcare training and programming to be effectively implemented in Liberia.
Don spoke about the strides already being made in the field by Starkey Hearing Institute based in Zambia and explained the opportunity using a power-point presentation from the Starkey Hearing Foundation adding that “the real stars will be the nurses who will return after their training to go out into communities to diagnose and treat hearing losses”.
He reflected on a survey from Zambia which suggested that about 40% of hearing issues in that country were due to ear infections, “something that can be treated if properly diagnosed”, he averred.
As a part of the expectations of the training, Mr. Martin then presented four donated computer laptops to the four health workers secured in the United States to be utilized by the Liberian participants during their training in Zambia.
Making remarks at the ceremony was the Senator from Grand Cape Mount County, Hon. Simeon B. Taylor. He praised the efforts of Church Aid and Starkey Hearing Foundation to champion hearing healthcare in Liberia. He expressed his satisfaction that one of the first training participants comes from the western region of Liberia, a region he represents in the Liberian Senate.
He promised to engage the Liberian Senate through President Protemp and Senate Health Committee on the need to support through budgetary allocation the efforts being made to train and program Liberian health workers in specialized hearing health.
Other members of the United States delegation were Miss Robin Brooksbank, the Administrative Officer, and Jeffery O’Donnell. They were provided traditional Liberian outfits along with Don Martin for their visit and support to Liberia’s post-civil-war recovery efforts, especially in the areas of education and health
The program was graced by Senator Simeon B. Taylor of Grand Cape Mount County, Mother Mariama Brown, Executive Director of the Concerned Christian Community; Dr. Emmanuel Singbe, Chief Medical Staff, Curran Lutheran Hospital; Rev. Miatta R. Sirleaf, executive director of Church Aid, Mrs. Georgia A. Gray, acting Church Administrator of New Water in the Desert, and Mrs. Willette A. Cooper, Health Coordinator of Church Aid, among others
Church Aid Inc. (CAI) is the relief and development arm of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church International. Starkey Hearing Institute based in Zambia is administered by Dr. Alfred Mwamba, an audiologist, and Starkey Hearing Foundation based in Minnesota, USA is headed by Mr. Kirk Richards who has been very instrumental in the approval of the training opportunities for Liberia’s participants. He was the first contact by Church Aid for discussion on the proposed hearing health program for Liberia.