TANZANIA – Bugando Zonal Referral Hospital is set to embark on research to establish the reason behind big number of people with hearing problem in Lake Zone, especially in Shinyanga and Geita regions.

The Hospital’s Director General, Dr Fabian Massaga said during the climax of World Hearing Day that, despite the reduced number of people with such complications, still the problem was big.

In 2020, people diagnosed with hearing loss were 1,635, with 49.06 per cent being the adults and 50.94 per cent children.

Again, a total of 856 were diagnosed in 2021, of which 68.97 per cent were adults and 31.03 per cent children.

“And last year the number was 970. About 68.77 per cent were adults and 31.23 per cent children,” revealed the Director while expressing the gratitude to the government that keeps on improving the services at Bugando, including the installation of Audiology Unit with modern screening equipment, to fight the hearing problems.

According to him, the government also made possible the availability of at-least eight Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) experts at Bugando, a move that smoothens treatments to Lake Zone and neighbouring patients.

Similarly, he added, Bugando will soon go for newborn ear screening exercise, immediately after being born, in an effort to curb ENTs problems at early stages.

Acting Regional Medical Officer, Dr Silas Wambura, affirmed that the government also fights to set up ENT services at all hospitals in Mwanza.

The move aims at not only bringing the services closer to people, but also fighting hearing complications at initial stages.

ENT’s Association president, Dr Edwin Lyombo, also commended services strengthening efforts, including an increase in hearing experts, from seven, in 2002, to the current 77, country-wide.

There is also an increase in the number of universities to provide ENT related courses, from one (KCMC) to three (Bugando and Muhimbili).

“However, we are still facing the shortage of hearing aids,” he said, while also calling for more ENT experts.

Based on the recent Population and Housing Census, Dr Lyombo estimated that the available 77 ENT experts will be serving at-least 800,000 patients, annually.

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