On March 17th our speaker: Dr. Mike Mallahan, audiologist par excellence, is wholly committed to an endeavor that brings the prospect of a better life for many.
It concerns hearing loss and its prevention. It involves screening of infants for deafness. It is known that, if the defect extends beyond two years, a child will never catch up and will face a disadvantaged lifetime. Dr. Mallahan has taken his skills, along with those of a corps of associates, to Guatemala. Allied with him are local Rotary clubs and fueling the process are Rotary grants.
In rural areas, where medical facilities and personnel are sparse, he has held screenings of newborns where, indeed, absence of hearing can be detected. At as early a stage as possible, they are fitted with hearing aids. Audiology technicians volunteer to fly in and aid in the screenings. They, in turn, train local personnel in the techniques. He gave three case histories in which children were rescued from deafness and its consequences. These represent a microcosm of the successes that are occurring. It is hoped that ophthalmologists will join the project. For the future, he envisions:
- A Global Grant to fund more newborn screenings
- More partner Rotary clubs to aid in funding
- More audiology training and equipment to be financed
- Ongoing surgical and medical supply needs to be met
- Expansion to other Spanish-speaking countries.
Comment: As we often observe, to do a little bit at a time helps make the world a better place. Dedication and its results have a way of expanding. We have witnessed this phenomenon in a number of previous addresses to our club.