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March 4, 2003

Thumbs up for Otse solar-powered hearing aid

From: Republic of Botswana, Botswana - 04 Mar 2003

It will now take a while to realise that the person sitting next to you is wearing a hearing aid. This is thanks to the latest design of a solar powered hearing aid that is manufactured by Godisa Technological Trust in Otse.

The gadget was on display during a meeting of members of the Board of Trustees of Godisa and the six full-time deaf technicians who operate the organisation's Otse workshop.

Godisa is a Technological Trust that was started in 1992 as a Solar Aid Workshop. It collaborates with the Botswana Technology Centre to manufacture solar rechargeable hearing aids that can be used by deaf people in Africa and other parts of the developing world.

A statement from Godisa says the hearing aid gained international recognition when it won a South African Bureau of Standard award for 'best product' of 1998.

"This is quite an accomplishment as the solar aid was entirely developed in Botswana," it said, adding that close to 3 000 solar aids have been sold to 20 countries around the world over a period of two years.

In 2001, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended to Godisa to design smaller models of the behind-the-Ear (BTE) type with a solar rechargeable BTE hearing aid. Godisa employs deaf people to manufacture the product.

They are trained in hearing aid assembly, acoustics and technical foundation.

The statement says Godisa's board of trustees are prominent people in their fields, all strategically based around the world in highly potential markets for hearing aids.

They are Dr Ron Brouillette based in Vietnam and India, Mr Dietter Walter in Mexico, with experience in hearing aid design, production and development, Dr Bradley McPherson in Hong Kong an Associate Professor in Audiology and well connected with the hearing aid network in China and other countries in the region.

Others are Dr Piet van Hasselt (Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi and Zambia) an ENT surgeon attached to Christoffel Blinded Mission, Dr Irwin Stewart (Canada and Uganda) an otolaryngologist, Professor Philip Newall based in Australia and South East Asia, Mr Danis Alexander, CE-BOMAID (Botswana) and and Mr Richard Blake (Botswana) founding member of the solar aid project and project co-ordinator for Motse Wa Badiri/Camphill.

© 2003 Republic of Botswana