Addressing the medical and developmental needs of people with disabling hearing loss in the still developing country of Cambodia.
IMPACT AREA: Health and wellbeing for all
All Ears Cambodia (AEC) is an NGO specifically addressing the medical and development needs of the estimated two million Khmers who suffer from some degree of deafness– from newborns to the elderly. Established in 2003, it is the only agency working in this specific area of medicine and healthcare in Cambodia, a country with a serious lack of healthcare accessibility.
Operating clinics in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Kratie, each clinic has a fully equipped ear mould laboratory and hearing aid repair service. Outreach posts are also operating in other provinces of Cambodia. AEC works in partnership with over 50 local and international aid agencies and four public hospitals, running outreach clinics to bring hearing health care to anyone in need of help. It’s a surprisingly small operation with just 22 staff, 21 of whom are full-time salaried employees.
In some villages in Cambodia, chronic ear disease in children is so common it is considered normal. This awful situation together with a scarcity of resources in a country still recovering from the genocidal regime of the Khmer Rouge prompted the organisation to take an innovative and sustainable approach to address the issue – opening the School of Audiology and Primary Ear Healthcare in 2012.
The School is located in Phnom Penh at the flagship clinic. Students undertake two-year intensive training in the various disciplines of the healthcare area, truly investing in the Khmer people by addressing the paucity of skilled specialist health workers.
The Morris Family Foundation donated funds to AEC for their project ‘Talking Audiology’ for the training of clinicians at the School. The funding covered a year of clinical practise, class-room based study, field visit and general operational costs for the student intake.
By developing local clinicians, AEC leads hearing healthcare in Cambodia, fostering opportunities for the expansion of existing services and the development of new ones in currently under-served areas and to lead hearing healthcare in Cambodia.
“Such capacity development is seen as the only sustainable solution, not only allowing increased patient support but ensuring Khmers can lead healthcare advances for the long term.”