The Danish medical technology company’s audiology will have an otoacoustic emissions (OAE) device, an essential tool in newborn hearing screening which up to date has never been performed in The Gambia. The service will be provided by an experienced Cuban audiologist with more than 20 years of professional experience. During the first week, the operation will be assisted by a member of Oticon, the world’s latest manufacturer of hearing aids. The company also donated 20 hearing aids to children and young adults from St. John’s School for the Deaf.
Raul dos Santos, the managing director of Calia Group, explained that one of the first things he realised when he came to the country was that there was only one professional audiology, Jaka Faal of Poly Clinic in Banjul. He said Faal is professional in her work but doesn’t have the means and equipment necessary to conduct the job.
“That’s why I decided to invest in interacoustics and to fully equip one of our rooms at Media Calia. One of my main concerns is to make hearing aids affordable to everyone. Currently in The Gambia, new born babies are not being screened for hearing impairment due to lack of equipment but from now on, we put it at the disposal of every parent to conduct a test at 200 dalasis. This will avail them the opportunity to understand if the child has any hearing problem.”
He emphasised that their objective is to ensure the in-situ manufacture of high quality lenses at affordable prices to all Gambians. Mr. Santos added that they intended to invest in Basse to serve the population and use it as a catchment for people from Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Mali.
“This means that we will be able to deliver finished glasses to our patients within the time frame of 24 to 48 hours in those locations. The industrial process will remain in the capital city but we will have permanent staff supporting our operations in these cities, therefore, providing goods and services, product choice, delivery of final goods and after sales service.”
Among their plans, Santos said, is to organise periodic free clinics in major cities to offer services to those who would find difficult quality eyecare.
Daniel J. Mendy, the principal of St. John’s School for the Deaf, expressed delight in receiving support from Calia Group. He said his school is fortunate to have Calia Group donate the most expensive digital hearing aids. He added that it will boost the hearing level of the students.
“It’s essential for us and we need help buying the dry-cell batteries because one might cost D100. We have an audio lab but the equipment is old and needed replacement.”