The Resilient Class of 2020
November 06, 2020
The beginning of 2020 came with so much excitement for the Starkey Hearing Institute. There was so much planned; the recruitment of students for the Class of 2020 was done in 2019 and everything was going according to plan; The campus was cleaned and ready for the arrival of the students representing 5 African countries including Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda. As the students started to arrive, everyone was excited and looking forward to a beautiful year as there was so much to accomplish in our 5th cohort since the opening of the institution in 2016.
However, little did we know that there was a Disruption heading our way. The world as we knew it came to a stop, boarders were closed, countries went under lockdown as a global pandemic swept through world. The pandemic, Covid-19, which started off gradually, went on to ravage countries the world over.
Despite the disruption, the Starkey hearing Institute, which has always been a forward thinking organization, quickly devised a solution to create a safe bubble for the students to live and learn by locking down the campus and having some lecturers that already live on campus offer face to face classes with others such as the program director Dr Mwamba who lives off campus, teaching remotely using platforms such as Zoom, Teams, and Canvas. This provided an opportunity for the students to continue with their studies and engage in group discussions.
As the Covid-19 cases reduced, the Government and Ministry of Health eased the restrictions in the country, and this meant that students could now start their clinical practicum within very carefully controlled safe environments. To achieve this, SHI partnered with a private practice to ensure that all Covid-19 preventative measures were in place for the safety of the patients and the students. Within this environment, the students were able to gain valuable practical experience and to serve patients and practice offer Aftercare services to patients that were served in past hearing missions. During this difficult time, some patients came to the SHI campus in small groups, and by appointment, to have their hearing assessed using the WFA Community-based Hearing Healthcare program. The WFA program allowed for service to be continued without the need to go into a clinical setting. This is the value that the WFA Community-based model brings to hearing healthcare by being able to allow service to continue from within any setting. Ten months later, in November 2020, the students were ready to graduate and ready to head back home with a new skill and zeal to serve their communities. As part of their graduation procedures they were able to fit 200 local Zambians and do Aftercare for almost 50 patients spread out over 1 week, in conjunction with LDS Charities.
After Graduation Students went back to their respective countries and began their Journey of serving patients in their hospitals and communities with their newly acquired skill and title as hearing Instrument Specialist turning various Audiology departments in their countries but most of all serving their communities as the much needed service that was nonexistent is now available in 15 African countries.
Talk about resilience, commitment and Hard work... We are so proud of the amazing class of 2020 for beating all the odds and emerging as hearing care angles…So the world may hear!.
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