The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 650,000 cases globally of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB). The treatment of drug-resistant (DR)-TB requires the use of second-line anti-TB medications such as aminoglycosides, many of which are associated with significant adverse event such as hearing loss.

In Uganda and other low-income countries, hearing aids are not easily accessible, especially if patients lack adequate funds. Patients suffering from MDR TB are at high risk of hearing loss as a result of their treatment regimen which unfortunately, can cause hearing impairments and even deafness during the course of treatment.

In order to address this challenge, Dr. Marisa Kälin, a member of Researchers for Global Health, was able to arrange for 20 well-functioning hearings aids to be shipped to Kampala, Uganda. On arrival, a trained audiologist, Josephine Likichoru from Mulago National Referral Hospital, adjusted the hearing aids to meet the needs of each patient. In the near future, 20 additional hearing aids will travel from Zurich to Kampala to benefit patients who have survived MDR TB but have lost the ability to hear during the course of the treatment.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone involved in this donation, which gave several patients the gift of a second life. Our special thanks goes to Dr. Marisa Kälin for initiating, organizing and overseeing this project. She was supported by Christina Grube, a dedicated nurse from Zurich. Furthermore, we would like to thank Dr. Nikos Kastrinidis and Nadim El Guindi for their professional support, by organizing and assessing the hearing aids.