Driving campaign to get ear bus on the road

DESPITE disappointment the campaign continues for a Dubbo mother who hopes to raise awareness of glue ear, which has hampered four of her six young children.

Rowens Galway said she was “disheartened” by a response from the office of NSW Health minister Jillian Skinner to a proposal for an Ear Bus by the Dubbo and District Parent Support Group for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Group.

A campaign began in November for an Ear Bus, a mobile health and education clinic, to tackle the occurrence of Glue Ear in young school children in the western region, from Dubbo to Cobar.

Glue Ear, or Otitis Media, affects one in three children and is caused when fluid becomes trapped behind the eardrum and eventually becomes thick.

The proposal was sent through state Member for Dubbo Troy Grant who wrote a letter of support for the proposal, as did federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.

In a letter of reply dated March 23, Ms Skinner acknowledged the common problem of Glue Ear in rural area of NSW but and advised that “currently there is no funding for additional hearing services within the Local Health District” and encouraged approaching other organisations to discuss the proposal.

The letter also stated the Western NSW Local Health District, who had not received the proposal, would “support a process to discuss planning for ear health services that include a wide range of government and non government stakeholders to ensure sustainability of strategies”.

Ms Galway, who knows first hand what sort of impact Glue Ear can have on young children, had hoped for some help from the government.

“It was very disheartening, I hoped for a little more support than she has given,” Ms Galway said.

Her eldest daughter had such severe case of Glue Ear she required 11 operations at a large medical cost.

“They get ear aches and some kids are so used to getting the earaches they don’t tell you about it and that is what one of my children was like,” Ms Galway said.

After gaining much needed support from the Dubbo and District Parent Support Group for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Group for her family Rowena Galway became an active member of the organisation helping push the campaign for an Ear Bus in the Western Region.

“Just the fact that every other state in Australia has something except for NSW is just ridiculous, it is like living in a third world country,” she said.

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