Twenty years ago, a former House Fellow, Dr. James Saunders, established a nonprofit organization with the aim of improving otologic care in Nicaragua. Their mission was to develop a sustainable framework that would provide the necessary infrastructure to improve hearing-health on a national level. I had the opportunity to participate in this undertaking with the Mayflower Medical Outreach (MMO) group and learn about the positive impact of their extremely successful charity.
This group founded the Albergue Mayflower School, a residential deaf education school for children living in rural areas of Nicaragua. Additionally, MMO has implemented a national grade-school hearing screening program as well as a new-born hearing screening program. The organization has built audiology testing booths in several cities as well as an audiometry training certificate program now with several successful Nicaraguan graduates.
During this past trip, I worked closely with a Nicaraguan doctor to provide medical education and surgical care for her patients. We clinically examined the more challenging patients from her practice, reviewed radiology scans, and operated on the patients with the greatest needs. It was an incredible experience to learn about another healthcare system and the barriers to success that are present in developing nations. Despite the grueling efforts of the MMO for nearly two decades, there continues to be substantial need for additional support and resources. Below are some of the pictures from our trip.
Kathryn Noonan, MD