The National, Thursday 6th June 2013
MANY people in Western Highlands and Jiwaka with hearing problems can now hear clearly, thanks to the Starkey Hearing Foundation of America.
The foundation, which provides free hearing aids to third world countries, visited Mt Hagen on May 26 and treated about 300 people, young and old, with hearing defects.
It was the foundation’s first visit to Mt Hagen and the second to PNG.
Last year they were in Goroka.
Founder of the charity Bill Austin and his wife Tani flew into Mt Hagen in their private jet with a contingent of more than 40, including employees, sponsors, security personnel and media crew, to give hope to those with hearing defects.
Those with problems in the two provinces were screened and identified by Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists from the Mt Hagen Provincial Hospital last year.
Dr James Kintwa, chief executive of the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority, thanked the team on behalf of those treated.
He said those identified made up only about 25% of the population of the two provinces and he hoped a good relationship would be forged between the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority and the foundation so that the team could return to help.
“We are here because we love that man from Galilee (referring to Jesus Christ),” Austin said.
“We’ve come here to meet the rest of our family we did not know before and we want to help.”
Austin said he had been doing the charity work with a team of dedicated people.