The Rotary Club of Rutland partners with private donors and three Rotary Clubs in Australia and Khon Kaen Rotary in Thailand on Bridging the Silence, a global grant to establish a community-based screening program for the Khon Kaen Region to screen for hearing impairments in infants. The $63,000 global grant includes funding from the Rotary Foundation World Fund.
The need for all newborns to be systematically screened for hearing impairments within the province of Khon Kaen Thailand aims to be met by this global grant. The number of audiologists in the region is very limited and the required equipment was not available in most of the hospitals in the Province of Khon Kaen and even in the country. Thailand has a population of 68 million people and there are less than 50 qualified pediatric audiologists. Most babies not born in the main hospitals in the City of Khon Kaen have not been screened for hearing impairments. For many babies or toddlers when the problem becomes noticeable, it’s almost too late to take any effective action.
Treatment for hearing impairments is highly effective and the average cost is approximately $20 per screening. Early diagnosis of hearing impairment can help prevent language development delays. Without a diagnosis, the potential to impact academic performance and opportunities for a prosperous future is often limited resulting in poverty and social isolation.
Three highly trained hearing screening teams will perform modern-day screening and conduct follow-ups. Babies that require further testing or special treatment will be referred to Srinagarind Hospital.
“The world has changed for every one of us and our most vulnerable are in need, joining a worldwide effort to change lives is a big part of Rotary’s international humanitarian focus. This vital initiative is yet another example of local Rotarians putting ‘service above self’ and follows on the heels of last year’s successful Covid relief grant in which over $35,000 in supplies and equipment were provided to local first responders, health care organizations, and food shelves,” said Kevin Loso, chairperson of the Rotary Foundation Committee of the Rotary Club of Rutland, April 15.
The Rotary global grant will fund the purchase of equipment required for the testing, medical staff, training, implementation of the program, and oversight.