As a child, Lineo Lecheko had a close friend who was hearing impaired. The experience inspired her to become an audiologist, and prepared her for the challenges that lay ahead.
Later, when Lecheko began working as the only audiologist at Zithulele Hospital in the Eastern Cape, she barely had any equipment.
“It is a deeply rural hospital, and patients had to travel for three days just to have a five-minute procedure.”
Lecheko initiated a relationship with the CEO of a neighbouring hospital, volunteering there as an audiologist in exchange for the loan of vital equipment.
She also wrote motivational letters to the CEO of Zithulele Hospital, and conducted hearing loss simulation for staff. Today, thanks largely to these efforts, Zithulele boasts state-of-the=art equipment, making new-born screenings and hearing aid fittings possible.
Last year, Lecheko was recognised as the “rural rehabilitation person of the year” by the Rural Doctor’s Association of South Africa.
Lecheko currently works as an audiologist for the Department of Education in Craddock. Here, her role sees her taking care of hearing impaired children attending schools in the area. “I love what I do,” says the 32-year-old Lecheko. “I’m hoping to start a special school for hearing impaired children who are able to speak.”
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