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July 28, 2005

New hope for deaf children

From: Gulf Daily News, Bahrain - Jul 28, 2005


A COCHLEAR implant scheme to help deaf children is to be expanded by the Health Ministry. Twelve children had cochlear implants inserted in two series of operations, held in April and June, at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC).

The Health Ministry has already spent BD164,000 towards the cost of the implants, said cochlear implant surgical team leader Dr Ahmed Jamal. Each implant costs about BD12,000. This is in addition to the doctors' fees and the cost of support services and rehabilitation.

Dr Jamal was supported in the surgery by SMC ear-nose-throat (ENT) department chairman Dr Abdul Rahman Ghareeb.

department chairman Dr Abdul Rahman Ghareeb.

The April session for six children was supervised by German expert Professor Dr Roland Lazig and the June session by Dr Hussam Al Keshlam, an Egyptian cochlear implant expert based in Michigan, US.

"Health Minister Dr Nada Haffadh has promised to support the programme on a continued basis," said Dr Jamal.

"Twenty-eight children and two adults are now on the waiting list. We hope to resume the sessions in September, with two cases a week."

Bahraini surgeons will carry out the implantation procedures without the help and supervision of foreign experts in future, said Dr Jamal.

Fifteen implantations were carried out at SMC in 2001 and 2002, and the success rate was 87 per cent. "To assess the success rate of implantation in the latest batch of 12 children, we have to wait for six months," said Dr Jamal. "However, all children responded well to sound stimuli, and are on speech and auditory rehabilitation at present at SMC and Prince Sultan Hearing & Speech Rehab Centre."

The surgical team was supported by audiological physician Dr A K Buallai, paediatrician Dr Rehab Al Marzook, speech therapists Omar Alsharif and Raja Aleid, and audiologist Jumana Mansor.

© Gulf Daily News