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Adapting our community-based speech therapy programme in Oromia - in partnership with Transforming Faces - S4CCC: Propelling Learning Through Collaborative Research
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The Challenge: In partnership with Transforming Faces our speech therapist Natnael, worked on developing a community programme which included remote speech therapy practices. This involved the training of multidisciplinary health workers about basic speech and language therapy techniques, with the idea that community health workers would be able to meet with a child with cleft related speech difficulties, this would be on a voluntary basis from the health worker. This was put on hold in 2020 from March to October, because of the threat and impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 

“My child is now able to communicate their needs, feelings and emotions, they are also more confident and excited to return to school.”

– Father of child who received community speech therapy

How was this overcome?

At the end of 2020 Natnael adapted this training to include covid-19 safety measures and led a workshop for the health workers who had volunteered to lead speech therapy one to one sessions in Oromia. This focused on refreshing basic speech therapy practices as well as integrating covid safety and prevention strategies including social distancing and wearing visors/face shields when leading a speech therapy session. Through recent supervision trips Natnael has been able to monitor both the techniques of the health worker and the child receiving the service and evaluate parts of the project that need further adaptation. During this process caregivers were also orientated in speech therapy activities that can be done at home meaning that children can be more consistently engaged in speech therapy. 24 children have been able to access the service and are making improvements in their speech and language.