Worldwide hearing care for developing countries (WWHearing)
Implementing agencies in major developing countries in four WHO regions have proposed pilot projects. Their objectives will be to show increases in provision of hearing aids and services in underserved areas through local partnerships; to demonstrate positive effects of provision of hearing aids through developing simple measures of satisfaction, social impact and cost-effectiveness; to demonstrate implementation of WHO guidelines within the service delivery system in the country; and to determine the best methodologies for achieving the objectives of WWHearing. The pilot studies in India and China have commenced and will assess innovative, community-based methods to provide, fit and follow up hearing aids on a large scale in adults and children respectively. The costs and cost-effectiveness of the projects will be measured.
Over the next five years and beyond, as the models are shown to be successful, funding will be sought to progressively implement full-scale projects in targeted developing countries where the needs and opportunities for cost-effective interventions are greatest.