Equipment, resources, and training are needed to achieve a 2014 Mongolia Ministry of Health mandate to implement nationwide newborn hearing screening and to ensure that babies and children identified with hearing loss have essential rehabilitation support.
Our Mongolia program aims to help strengthen the elements in the Continuum of Care for children with hearing loss in the country.
The program is a partnership with the Mongolia National Center of Maternal and Child Health and has the support of the Mongolia Ministry of Health. It allocates equipment, training, and technical support to medical professionals for newborn hearing screening. It also provides training for Mongolian otolaryngology doctors, teachers, therapists, and families in pediatric audiology and auditory-verbal practice to help young children with hearing loss identified with hearing loss learn to listen and speak. The program started in the capital of Ulaanbaatar where half of Mongolia’s population of 3 million people live.
Phase 1 of the program launched in September 2016. Over the next two years, seven public hospitals in Ulaanbaatar that work with babies and young children were supplied with newborn hearing screening equipment for the first time and provided with training on the use of the equipment.
We worked with our Mongolian partners to establish protocols and processes, successfully integrating the newborn hearing screening program into their current system of care. By the end of 2018, all babies born at the participating hospitals were being screened for hearing loss and referred for follow-up services as appropriate.
In September 2017, the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss initiated its multi-year training programs in pediatric audiology and auditory-verbal practice for medical professionals, therapists, and teachers in Ulaanbaatar.
In addition to training local professionals, we provide Parent Education seminars to help families learn about their children’s hearing loss and strategies they can use at home to help their children develop listening and spoken language.
The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss funded audiology equipment and the construction of an audiology room in the National Center for Maternal and Child Health to enable behavioral audiology testing for young children in the largest pediatric hospital in the country.
The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss has worked with the Rotary Club of Ulaanbaatar Peace Avenue to raise national awareness for pediatric hearing loss and how it can be addressed via media and outreach initiatives.
Phase 2 expands the program to the aimags (provinces) for a nationwide effort. The aim is to implement newborn hearing screening in all of the 21 aimag hospitals to reach an additional 45,000 babies. Our training programs will extend to reach education and health professionals, community health workers, and families in the aimags as well as in Ulaanbaatar.
Over 30,000 babies are now screened for hearing loss in Ulaanbaatar each year as a direct result of our efforts. Those that do not pass are referred for additional support.
We expanded newborn hearing screening to three aimags outside of Ulaanbaatar in 2020/2021, enabling proactive testing of an additional 5,000 newborns annually.
We have been training medical professionals, therapists and teachers in Ulaanbaatar who work with babies and young children with hearing loss. Since these professionals apply their new skills in their work with additional children and families over time, share their new knowledge with colleagues, and use their understanding and expertise to address gaps in care, even more children will benefit in the future.