It is our conviction that health care is a human right is born of our service to communities and our daily struggle with a grim reality every minute of every day, people go deaf from ear disease that we know can be prevented and treated in many situations. We also know that more than 30,000 needless deaths a year occur from ear disease. It is also a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted more than half a century ago, which proclaimed that "everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and ones family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care." Through our advocacy efforts, GEO works to make that right a reality by mobilizing resources, by informing and influencing policy, and by helping to build a movement to fight for health.

GEO's advocacy takes many forms. By speaking up and speaking out at major scientific meetings and public events focused on global health issues related to ear disease and hearing loss as a hidden disability, we make our presence felt and the voices and needs of our deaf and hard of hearing patients heard. That is what we did when we participated in the CBM-WHO conference in Bogota, Columbia. By forging alliances with medical schools, government hospitals, and Ministries of Health, we work to build up public health services and infrastructure. In El Salvador, for example, GEO works with the Ministry of Health to provide specialized care in ear surgery to those in the Seguro Social System of health. And in Ethiopia our success in starting an ear program helped convince the government to start a residency program in ENT.

Our work to change policy and to build a movement of awareness in hearing loss and prevention is by far one of our more daunting challenges. GEO has been on the forefront of providing education and developing programs to serve the underserved. At a time when it is popular globally to address HIV, TB, and Malaria, we have protested in the international arena against the hidden disability of hearing loss which affects 5% of the worlds population. The changes we have been advocating, have now begun to be integrated into the agendas of international NGO's and a few governments, and with this we are forging to create the awareness needed to open the door to a global awareness and commitment to ear disorders and hearing loss.