Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai Nobel Laureate Pakistan

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When the WHO’s World Report on Hearing was launched in 2021, Malala Yousafzai – the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and advocate for education and girls’ equality – demonstrated her support through a keen foreword:

“When I travel to countries around the world, I meet girls who have struggled against poverty, child marriage and discrimination to stay in school and finish their education. These young women are from different backgrounds, practice different religions and speak different languages; but they share the same determination to pursue their dreams for the future.

With all the barriers to equality facing girls, women, and other marginalized people, those who need hearing care are further disadvantaged and too often left behind. About 1 billion people around the world are at risk of avoidable hearing loss. WHO estimates that over 400 million, including 34 million children, live with disabling hearing loss, affecting their health and quality of life.

Because I have also suffered hearing loss, I know this doesn’t need to be an obstacle to education. With access to health care, rehabilitation and technology, people with disabling hearing loss can participate equally in education, employment and their communities. Hearing loss doesn’t keep them from reaching their full potential: poverty and discrimination do.

To address this global public health challenge, the World report on hearing offers evidence-based, equitable and cost–effective actions for ear and hearing care. Following the guidance in this report, WHO Member States can help prevent hearing loss and ensure that people with hearing loss can access the care they need.

I hope our leaders will work together to implement the recommendations in the World report on hearing – and give every person with hearing loss the chance to contribute to our shared future.”

Photograph by Malin Fezehai for Malala Fund