World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva (Image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/ - user: Yann)
World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva (Image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/ – user: Yann)

In 2010, on learning that the World Health Organisation’s post of officer responsible for the Programme for the Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Impairment was at risk of being abolished through lack of funds, HCC took the lead in forming a Consortium with other like-minded NGOs* to persuade the WHO to re-instate the post and provide professional support. Dr Shelley Chadha was appointed in 2011 and has worked successfully to educate and support professionals in this field amongst member states.

At the start of her tenure, Dr Chadha outlined key objectives for her programme of work – including the roll out of a programme of support to assist Member States in the integration of primary ear and hearing care (PEHC) into primary health care and the creation of greater international awareness of primary ear and hearing care at all levels of society from Government policy makers, to health personnel and the general population.

“Unless decisive action is taken, the number of hearing impaired people is going to increase beyond this present 360 million as the result of population growth in developing countries and ageing in industrialised countries”. Lady Jean Wilson, Founder & Chairperson HCC)

Thus far, she has successfully made contact with the Ministries of Health and other partners in more than ten Member states – including Sri-Lanka, Nicaragua, Guinea Conakry, Egypt, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Morocco – in order to encourage and assist with the development of programmes for the prevention of hearing loss in each of these regions.