Bengaluru: Saddiqullah is a happy father of six-year-old Aliya Begum, who recently underwent a successful cochlear implant at Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) in the city. His daughter along with five-year-old Ananya can now hear clearly. They are the first set of children to have undergone cochlear implants in the state under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakrama.
“Earlier we went to a private hospital, but the implant was not done correctly,” says Ananya’s father Sanjeevappa. The surgery was performed by Dr Vasanthi Anand and Dr Premkumar, (ENT) surgeons at IGICH. “It was a 1.5-hour-long surgery and the State Cochlear Committee evaluated these two cases. After they fulfilled all the requirements, they were sent to IGICH for the surgery," says Dr Vasanthi Anand, Cochlear Implant Surgeon for IGICH and KC General Hospital. The children were discharged the next day, he said.
Dr Anand will train two ENT surgeons from IGICH and KC General Hospital for implants, after which they will continue on their own.
“The project was much needed as hearing aids are not the answer to deafness,” she says, adding that both children are fine and implants are functioning well. 25 children will be sent to IGICH, 10 to KC General Hospital and 15 to Wenlock Hospital for cochlear implants. Another successful surgery was conducted at KC General on Wednesday, she said. The children eligible for cochlear implants are eight months to six years and these children have been found to be suffering from severe hearing loss and hearing aids will not benefit them.
RBSK teams screen children enrolled in anganwadis, government and government -aided schools and any child found with hearing problems are referred to district hospitals for further evaluation and treatment.
The empanelled hospitals are KC General Hospital, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health and Wenlock Hospital, Mangaluru.
Rs 5.1 lakh per child
The state health department recently launched the cochlear implant project in the city under the “Deafness Free Karnataka” initiative, which was discussed in the budget as well. The programme was launched under The National Health Mission, Department of Health and Family Welfare Services and will be implemented through the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakrama (RBSK). Under this project, children with severe or profound hearing loss will be managed free of cost. The preoperative evaluation, implant surgery and postoperative audio verbal therapy for one year will be covered free of cost under the project. The total cost for the package is Rs 5.1 lakh per child.