Being a deaf person in Africa implies assuming a social stigma, unfortunately children suffering from deafness are considered as “bewitched”, despite the fact that in many cases the deafness is caused by illnesses of both the pregnant mother and the baby, ear infections, lack of hygiene and lack of treatment.
In many African countries, general knowledge about hearing impairment is very limited and the lack of resources means that there are no programs for the detection of hearing loss and the integration of these people into social life.
The Farmasol project, launched in Uganda in 2015 with the aim of improving health conditions and facilitating access to medicines for patients without resources, is the starting point of this story. In Uganda, we started our interventions on the African continent by opening several Solidarity Pharmacies in Gulu, Padibe, Nakaseke, Abedober, Butare, Kabale, Lukka, and Karungu in collaboration with various Missions and local organizations. After 6 years, our presence has been expanding its interventions, carrying out actions to meet the needs that arose in the area (childbirth care, care of patients with chronic diseases, construction of wells, savings groups, construction of a poultry farm, granting of microcredits, etc.).
It was in one of the educational talks at Padibe that we met Amoo Sophie, mother of Emmanuel, a child deaf since birth. Since we knew his situation, we tried to see how we could help him and in 2021 he underwent an operation for the placement of a cochlear implant.
Although at first it was considered to move Emmanuel to Spain to undergo the operation, it was finally decided to perform the surgery in his country, mainly thinking of the child’s well-being, in addition to the fact that the post-operative follow-up and the two years of speech therapy he must attend had to be done in Uganda and in his native language.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, which stopped the whole world, the operation was postponed several times until it was successfully performed in November 2020.
Currently Emmanuel already has his implant in place which will allow him to process sounds and language. We are closely following his evolution; we hope that in a year he will be able to communicate and improve his quality of life.