The Tampa Bay Times is running a special column I wrote in honor of World Health Day:
Column: Health Agency’s Flaws Hurt the Hearing-Impaired
As a physician who has devoted significant time to traveling the world recently on a volunteer mission to help people with hearing impairments, I have a new sense of the significance of World Health Day, which was celebrated Monday. I also have a new sense of the limitations of the organization associated with this day: the World Health Organization.
Since November, I have visited five developing countries as a volunteer physician with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a pragmatic, results-based organization committed to fitting 1 million hearing-impaired people with hearing aids worldwide. My travels have taken me to the Philippines, Haiti, Senegal, Liberia and Mexico.
Founded in 1984 by William and Tani Austin, the Starkey Hearing Foundation has given the gift of hearing, and changed lives, for more than 1 million children and adults over these past 30 years.
Seeing the excited smiles of children who are hearing their mother’s voice for the first time has been incredibly satisfying, but it has also been terribly frustrating. Growing up the son of an immigrant and a pharmaceutical research scientist, I have always had a passion for finding cures for diseases in the developing world. During my travels, I’ve come to recognize that a significant share of the hearing loss in these countries is entirely preventable…
Click here to read the whole thing.