Nagpur: September 25, 2016 has been declared as the World Deafness Day. An awareness campaign to this effect will be conducted from September 18 to 25, 2016 under the aegis of Association of Otolaryngologists of India-Vidarbha Branch, Orange City Hospital and Research Institute and Neeti ENT Clinics, Nagpur. The theme of this year’s campaign will focus on management of hearing impaired children.
The week long activities will begin with a public awareness programme on the September 18, 2016 at Hotel Center Point, Nagpur. Lectures by eminent doctors in the field would be delivered on identifying deafness in children at early stage, options of treatment and methods of rehabilitation and integration of these differently-abled children in society. There will also be special awareness lectures on deafness in adults and elderly. The prime attraction of the event would be an interactive interview with a hearing impaired child who is a cochlear implant recipient and is now an independent and responsible citizen of the society.
During the following week, i.e September 19 to 24, 2016 between 10 am to 2pm, diagnostic tests for hearing disability would be offered free of cost to all children and adults who are at risk or suspected to suffer from hearing loss at Neeti ENT Clinic and Orange City Hospital& Research Institute. These tests include Oto-acoustic emissions (OAE), Audiometry (PTA) and brain-stem evoked response Audiometry (BERA).
Patients, who test positive for hearing impairment, would then be counseled by expert doctors and speech-language therapists regarding appropriate further management.
Children, who are found suitable to undergo cochlear implant surgeries would be considered for enrollment under Project Geeta of Orange City Hospital and Research Institute, where such surgeries are being done at a very affordable price. Moreover for non-affordable patients, TATA Trust and Chief Minister’s Relief fund provides grants for cochlear implant (CI) Surgeries at OCHRI.
Hearing aids would also be made available at a discounted cost to appropriate patients at both these centers. The culmination of this awareness campaign will be a one-day joint CME for pediatricians and ENT surgeons on the September 25, 2016 at Airport Centre Point Hotel.
OCHRI’s “Freedom from Deafness” movement has been commenced under aegis of “Project Geeta”. Geeta the only sister of Chairman of Ravi Nair Hospitals Private Limited Uday Bhaskar Nair is congenitally hearing impaired. Thus he is aware of the problems faced by hearing impaired individuals hence wants to make all efforts to abolish congenital deafness from Vidarbha. Nair commended the efforts of AOI to remove this scourge from face of Vidarbha.
Senior ENT surgeon Dr Madan Kapre, of the city pointed out to the burden of this problem where nearly 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss and nearly half of it is preventable.
ENT Surgeon and Convener-OCHRI Cochlear Implant Programme Dr. Nandu Kolwadkar, acquainted the public on the cochlear implantation programme running successfully at OCHRI.
President of the AOI-Vidarbha Branch Dr. Surendra Gawarle stressed upon the continued and dedicated efforts undertaken by such organizations towards the cause of hearing disabilities in children.
Director (Administration)-OCHRI Dr. Anup Marar added that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had personally requested Rajan Tata to provide financial assistance to poor and needy deaf children of Vidarbha for CI surgeries at OCHRI and history was created when TATA TRUST had formally signed an MOU with OCHRI. Likewise Chief Minister’s Office is also releasing endowment from CM relief fund for CI Surgeries at OCHRI.
Secretary of AOI-Vidarbha Branch and Assisting Surgeon to Padmashree Dr Milind Kirtane Dr. Sameer Choudhary who leads the team of CI surgeons at OCHRI mentioned that hearing loss is the third leading chronic disability following arthritis and hypertension. 9 out of every 10 children who are born deaf are born to parents who can hear. A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.
Dr. Harsh Karan Gupta and Dr. Gauri Kapre Vaidya, ENT surgeons- Neeti Clinics, who have received fellowship training for cochlear implant surgery, said that early and appropriate diagnosis and therapy are keys to achieve good results for rehabilitation of these children.
Audiologists and Speech Therapists Neelu Somani, Dr. Ashish Diswal and Vishal Hiremath are undertaking audio visual therapy for those children who have undergone Cochlear Implant Surgeries at OCHRI under Project Geeta.
The gathering also requested all statutory health authorities and doctors to ensure that Hearing screening assessment compulsory for all new borns at all maternity homes/ hospitals before they are discharged. This will help the government and involved agencies in screening out affected children and render timely assistance to them as it would be ideal to perform surgery before 18 months of age.