September 21, 2016

An 8-Station Temporal Bone Lab furthers medical education in Jos, Nigeria

In May the first temporal bone lab opened at Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) in Jos, Nigeria. Originally located at Swedish Hospital (Denver, CO) and used by the Cochlear Corporation to train U.S. surgeons in cochlear implant surgery, the eight-station refurbished lab was installed and is now used by otolaryngology residents and surgeons from all parts of Africa, as provided by the West African College of Surgeons.

Dedicated to the legacy of medical missionary and educator Jack Van Doren Hough, MD, the lab was made possible through the efforts of Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute’s Douglas J. Green Jr., MD and Hearing Help for Africa (HHFA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2010 and dedicated to providing education, patient care and hope to the people of Nigeria and West Africa. Before his death at 92 in 2012, Dr. Hough served on the board of MAP International and co-founded both the Deafness Research Foundation and the Christian Society of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Dr. Hough’s contribution as a medical pioneer in stapes and cochlear implant surgery helped shape the lives of the many surgeons, patients and others dealing with hearing loss. He felt his life’s purpose and deep faith was expressed in his work in the OR, clinics and on medical missions. Greatly influenced by Dr. Hough, Dr. Green continues this purposeful legacy through mission trips like the one in May during which the new lab’s dedication took place with Jack’s son, David Hough, PhD, an audiologist in Oklahoma City, OK, who attended along with government officials, hospital administrators, physicians, and the local press.

Dr. Green points to a recent study (Emmett, et al, September 2016 – Vol. 35, No.8) which demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of cochlear implantation in Nigeria, the most densely inhabited country in Africa. This study reinforces the significant need for cochlear implantation, mastoidectomy and tympanoplasty surgery in Nigeria and throughout West Africa.

To date, HHFA has provided cochlear implants to Nigerians in Jos and given support to implant patients through a real-time, telemedicine continent-to-continent connection from JUTH directly into Dr. Green’s office. Dr. Green’s medical missions have resulted in dozens of Nigerian otolaryngologists and audiologists being educated about the benefits of cochlear implantation and other areas of otology. Through HHFA Dr. Green has welcomed four otolaryngology professionals (two otolaryngologists, one nurse practitioner, one audiology assistant) and provided mini-fellowships to further their knowledge. Nigerian government officials are supportive and relationships have strengthened to further develop cochlear implantation and specialty otolaryngology services within other areas of Nigeria, including future collaborative efforts to provide speech therapy, audiology training and the establishment of an oral/auditory school for the deaf.

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