KARACHI – Pakistan is a developing country having prevalence of certain indigenous health issues since its inception. Hearing impairment is one of the major issue and an unnecessary burden on the society.
According to a survey, about 15 per cent of the population is suffering from hearing impairment and majority of them are due to preventable causes.
Cases of congenital SNHL are increasing day by day due to variety of socio-cultural reasons in our region. In vast majority of these cases, conventional rehab measures with the use of hearing aids and/or speech therapy are not much beneficial. Cochlear implant is relatively newer technique that can cater to the needs of majority of such cases if they meet the criteria of cochlear implant candidacy. The major concerned in its applicability all over the globe, is the cost of implant, pre-implant assessment and post implant rehabilitation.
The cost incurred in private sector in Pakistan is very high ($25000) which cannot be afforded by many parents, especially those belonging to lower and middle classes.
Considering the gravity of the situation, Dow University of Health Sciences, launched its Cochlear implant programme with the aim of implanting the needy and suitable candidates of the families who cannot afford the cost.
DUHS has been endeavouring to set up a well-equipped audio-vestibular institute for pre-implant assessment and post-implant rehabilitation and for this purpose it has initially pooled funding of Rs10 million.
Up till now 27 cases had been implanted free of charge after selection by standardized international criteria of cochlear implant candidacy. The implantation was done in December 2012 (Two cases), July 2013 (Two cases) and November 2014 (09 cases) and March 2015 (14 cases).
There are around 400 registered candidates waiting for the implant.
DUHS conducted a training workshop on Cochlear Implant with lectures and live demonstration of implant surgeries from Sept 28 to Sept 30, 2015. The Center has selected 12 candidates from registered patients for cochlear implant. It was aimed at providing training to postgraduates and junior practicing otologists concerning cochlear implant, besides implanting the suitable registered candidates.
Philanthropists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been requested to donate generously towards this noble cause so as to help the poor and economically weak families in making their children useful citizens of the country.