The Ndlovu WITS Audiology (NWA) officially opened its doors in 2014 January with just 2 audiologist and provision on in-house services whilst working in a shipment container. With the in-house services comprehensive ear and hearing tests are provided to people of all ages. The services include: hearing tests, wax/foreign body removal, special tests (for people and babies who cannot respond by themselves) and hearing aid fittings. Patients are free and welcome to walk in at any time.
Community health workers provide Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) services on a daily basis to babies coming for 3 and 10 days post natal clinic visits. With this program, the aim is to do early identification and intervention of hearing loss on babies. The HPCSA recommendations is to identify hearing loss by 1 months, provide diagnostic assessments by 3 months and intervention (management of the hearing loss) by 6 months of age.
A School based hearing screening program was developed in line with the Integrated School Health Policy to help improve the hearing health of the learners. We screen the foundation phase learners of the schools in the Moutse primary schools more focus being on the grade R and 1 learners. Hearing affects academic performance as well as social development of the children, it was therefore important to introduce this program to help reduce the effects of hearing loss. Community health workers were trained to be able to conduct the screening on a daily basis. In 2017 follow-up services were included in the program where by learners who failed the hearing screening the previous year get re-tested to check if they have been taken for management at the healthcare facilities closer to them. With the follow-up services we introduced the removal of wax and foreign objects at school to reduce the absenteeism and travel cost to different facilities thus the only travelling done is for comprehensive hearing tests and medical management.
The audiology team also reaches out to the community through the Community hearing screening project either through being invited or initiating the screening project. This includes going out to the community gatherings such as pension paypoints, churches, health outreach events to screen the community. The aim of this project is to promote the department (let it be known in the community) and assist the community with identification and management of ear or hearing problems.
The department aims to maintain an active research program by focusing on an evidence-based model for the inclusion of audiological services as part of an integrated health, child and community care service.
Clinic outreach services are provided to the two clinics which are far from the Ndlovu Medical Centre. The aim of this project is to provide hearing health services closer to the community; one at Kwarrilaagte clinic and the other at Gateway clinic. The audiologist visits these clinics once a month to provide as many of the services as we provide at our centre.