Dr. Ashley Al-lzzi and Dr. Kamal Elliot just returned from providing hearing care to around 400 people in Mozambique and Zambia, Africa. Together with 30 other audiologists and volunteers, they traveled with Entheos Audiology Cooperative. The Oticon Hearing Foundation was excited to donate 100 hearing instruments and cases of batteries for the mission. Below, Dr. Ashley Al-lzzi recounts some of the most memorable moments from the trip.
First stop, Mozambique
Mozambique is the 7th poorest country in the world. Although they have audiologists and ear nose and throat physicians (ENT’s), hearing aids are not fit within Mozambique causing people who are in need of aid to travel to other countries. The team worked with local audiology staff and ENT’s to treat patients with hearing loss and train staff in testing and hearing aid maintenance. In 3 days, the group saw around 413 patients in a local clinic.
“People would line up at 6 am. Hundreds would be waiting to be seen. There was one gentleman in his early 20’s who came in. We noticed his eye was displaced and he had bumps on his skin. He had Neurofibromatosis type 2, a condition where benign tumors grow on the nerves and he had asymmetrical hearing loss on top of this. His doctor had come in with him and was telling us a little about his history – ‘he is a hard worker, trying to do his best to become educated learning computer science. He already felt like people didn’t look at him like a human being because of his disfigurement, and on top of that, he cannot hear. There are a lot of people in the country who give up because life is so difficult, but he is a fighter’.”- Dr. Ashley Al-Izzi.
For Dr. Al-Izzi, this was her second humanitarian trip, with her first being in September of 2015 when she traveled to Jordan with Entheos Audiology Cooperative. Although language barriers, inaccurate medical records, and lack of equipment are a constant struggle that requires flexibility and patience, she says this work helps her appreciate what she does.
“You realize what a huge difference you can make in someone’s life.”- Dr. Ashley Al-Izzi
Stay tuned as we travel to Zambia, Africa with Dr. Kamal Elliot this Friday!