Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) for the first time in public sector performed Cochlear Implant Surgery of two children at its Ojha Campus, Karachi.
Four year old Mufsira and two year old Fazila were brought to DUHS with hearing disability. The Cochlear Implant Surgery was performed by Prof. M. Umer Farooq, ENT Surgeon & Pro Vice Chancellor, DUHS along with a team under the supervision of Dr. Naveed Ahmed, ENT Surgeon from Australia under the feather of International Medical Relief Agency, UK. The Surgery was shown live in the Seminar hall of the Ojha Campus.
Prof. Umer Farooq, Dr. Naveed Ahmed and Dr. Haroon Zafarullah Khan after performing the Cochlear Implant Surgery were extremely thankful to the Almighty Allah for making the surgical procedures absolutely complication free. They informed that two cochlear implant procedures were performed to the two children. One had lost her hearing capacity due to viral infection while another was the case of congenital deafness. These two children were shortlisted to undergo the surgeries after various tests and assessments performed by experts. The surgeries were successful and went very smoothly.
They further revealed that Cochlear Implant Surgery was a complicated procedure in which electronic hearing devices were placed in the ears of people with hearing impairment. These implants provide hearing abilities to some extent. Children upto the age of five otherwise too hold comparatively better chances of success among them. He added that all deaf children could, however, not be considered fit for the procedure.
Moreover the children who are successfully operated upon are necessarily required to undergo speech therapy for quite some time. Congenitally deaf children need to undergo a series of examinations prior to the procedure itself and following the surgery to do take some two years for absolute synchronization in their skills to listen and speak. In the congenital cases another quite a minute gadget is planted at 48 degree angle in the ear, causing no problem for the child.
Prof. Dr. Umer Farooq further said that cochlear implants are quite a common phenomenon in most parts of the world and is also being performed among adult population alongwith children. However, it is an expensive mode of treatment and does cost around Rs.2.5 million in foreign countries. DUHS will be providing the gadget and the surgical option at extremely subsidized charges and this could also be absolutely free of cost for needy patients as funds for them could be arranged through zakat fund. About the two cochlear implant operations, performed at DUHS and which happened to be first of its kind in any public sector hospital in the country extreme care was taken in the selection of children. Initially 14 children were selected who were made to undergo series of essential tests and finally two of the children were identified to hold optimum chances of success.
At a press conference held recently at the Dow University Ojha campus, Dow University announced the establishment of Cochlear Implant Centre in International Medical Relief Agency, UK at its Ojha Campus. The project would be the first public-sector initiative. During the Press Conference, Prof. M. Umer Farooq and Dr. Haroon Zafarullah Khan informed that the University is arranging for a foreign implant expert for conducting surgeries on about three children. The proposed centre while enjoying financial support from IMRA, would deal with people and children with hearing disabilities and also those using hearing aids. According to him, the implant project was very expensive and it cost between Rs1 million and Rs1.2 million in the international market for just one device while the same device was available at private hospitals for around Rs2.5 million.
Replying to a question, the pro-vice chancellor said that it was likely that around 50 cochlear implants would be conducted during the first year of the project. During this time, he said, IMRA and the DUHS would share the cost of the device equally while other expenditures, such as management and post-surgical care, would be borne by the University.
Since the DUHS would import the devices directly from manufacturers in Australia, Austria and the US, it would reduce the total cost of cochlear implants. It was recommended for children with profound hearing loss in both ears having little success with hearing aids.
ENT surgeon Dr Khan said the device was safe and reliable, adding that it was implanted in the cochlea after a minor surgery and it was successful in majority of the cases.