The COAMED hearing health mission stems from the need felt by the community and the health authorities of the municipality of Manizales (Caldas, Colombia) for specialized audiology services, given the high incidence of hearing impairments detected in this area of the coffee region of Colombia.
In the study of health needs presented by the city Mayor and the Secretary of Health of the city, COAMED was presented with a list of Adults and children over eight years with severe or profound hearing loss awaiting the adaptation of hearing aids. These people had not been able to get this biomedical technology due to a lack of financial resources or health insurance.
The first Medical Auditory Health Mission in the city of Manizales took place from June 17-21, 2019. In total, 74 hearing aids and 36 moldings for the external auditory canal were delivered to people from the lowest socioeconomic status. This action mostly resolved their hearing disability and facilitated their return to the labor market. Better hearing, in turn, translates into better opportunities for them to continue their education and to improve their quality of life. First-degree relatives of consanguinity or affinity with members of COAMED or senior government officials of the municipal administration did not qualify for the program.
At the end of the Mission, additional demand for hearing aids and audiological services was left unattended. A waiting list of about 20 patients was pending evaluation. They expressed their hope that COAMED will continue with its journey of helping improve the auditory health of this community.
With an investment of less than $5,000 in Mission expenses, COAMED leveraged the generous donation of hearing aids from BELTONE to generate an estimated economic impact of about $ 180,000 in medical services rendered.
We are sure that the economic and social impact of continuing the Auditory Health Mission in Manizales will be very significant. The benefit to the vulnerable population with hearing impairment served by this Mission is incalculable. The impact on the job, school, personal, and social spheres are undeniable. This type of Missions is the quintessence of what COAMED does. Let us continue to be a force for good to low-income communities with unsatisfied health needs regardless of race, creed, or political affiliation.