International Hospital, Kampala (IHK) together with Kampala Audiology and Speech Centre (KASC) have partnered with MEDEL international to conduct a cochlear implant surgery on children with profound or total hearing loss .
During a press briefing held today at International Hospital, Kampala, Dr. Mamello Muhanuuzi, the Head of Medical Services and Quality Assurance at the facility revealed that the aim of this partnership is to provide an opportunity for the deaf in the region to access critical audiology health services that would not be affordable due to high costs of travel, accommodation and treatment abroad.
Dr. Muhanuuzi further shared that with support from MEDEL they have been able to train Ugandan ENT surgeons, otologist, speech therapists and audiologist so that the cochlear implant surgery can be done in Uganda.
“Having this procedure done in Uganda will be a big relief for patients who will now be able to access affordable surgeries in their country,” She said.
“The latest successful round of five MEDEL cochlear implant surgeries performed by a team of local and external surgeons took place from 27th to 28th August 2021.” She added.
MEDEL is an Austrian-based global manufacurer and distributor of cochlear implants.
According to Dr. Muhanuuzi , Profound hearing loss in childhood affects the development of auditory speech perception, speech production and consequently language skills. Failure to develop adequate oral communication can have a significant negative impact on educational and employment opportunities for both the children and adults.
Dr. Louis Okema, an ENT specialist with IHK and a beneficiary revealed how 10 years ago as a post graduate student, they only read about cochlear Implant surgery in books but never had the opportunity to practice because it looked complex .
” I am now happy that we are able to do these surgeries and in short time from now we will no longer need a visiting surgeon because we can do it by ourselves,” he revealed.
” We no longer have to send children with completely no hearing to school of the deaf to learn sign language if a cochlear implant surgery can enable them to hear and talk normally.” he added.
According to Dr.Okema, hearing impairment is the second most common disability in Uganda.
Hearing loss can be divided into congential and acquired causes. Congential is when a child is born with a hearing impairment due to factors like; infections that the mother had, drugs the mother used or a genetic problem.
On the other hand, acquired cases can be brought by infectious diseases such as meningitis, measels,mumps, exposure to excessive noise, hearing infections like wax , accidents or trauma.