March 2017 saw the visit to the UK of two doctors tasked by the Ministry of Health in Myanmar with developing services for those with deafness in their country. Prof. Khin Hla Hla and Dr Tin Maung Win spent two weeks on a busy tour of centres involved with hearing diagnosis, treatment and education. They travelled as guests of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and ENTUK. The visit was coordinated by Robin Youngs, currently the lead for Global Health for ENTUK.
Their visit was slightly delayed by visa formalities and they arrived at Heathrow at 6am on a cold Wednesday morning. They were whisked away to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital where they spent two days interacting with the ENT and audiology teams, with particular focus on paediatric hearing testing, neonatal screening, vestibular testing and endoscopic ear surgery. London was their next port of call where they visited the International Office of The Royal College of Surgeons of England. They then spent three days at the De Montfort University School of Audiology, where they were hosted by Rob Frost. They were able to visit the Leicester Balance Unit and the Nottingham Cochlear Implant Programme and then travelled to York where they were guests of honour at the ENTUK Spring Meeting. Their final port of call was Newbury where they spent a day with Viv Ogg at Mary Hare School for the Deaf.
This intiative is part of an ongoing partnership between ENT teams in Maynamar and the UK established by Robin Youngs and Nick Stafford in 2002.
A main goal is to reduce the burden of disability in children with deafness in Myanmar. A 1997 WHO survey estimated that 8% or about 4 million people in Manymar suffered with significan deafness according to WHO criteria. The infrastructure for those with deafness is quite limited in Myanmar and there is a shortage of trained audiology staff. Hearing aids are not readily available and confined to only a few main dispensers in the main cities.
In partnership with the ENT partnership has been the establishment of The Mandalay School for the Deaf Charity in the UK.
The full article as it appeared in ENT and Audiology News can be found here: Myanmar UK Deafness Collaboration