1 mn deaf children in India awaiting medical aid: Natarajan

Noting that about one million deaf children in the country are in need of modern medical treatment like cochlear implantation, Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan today said a holistic effort by government, medical fraternity and others would help in propagating the technology for the benefit of such kids.

“Even though more than 20,000 cochlear implantations have thus been done across India, we still face an uphill task with potentially one million children awaiting implantation, for many of whom cost of implant is a deterrent,” Natarajan said.

She said this fact has come to light from the Central government’s deafness survey titled “The National Program for the Prevention and Control of Deafness”. The minister was speaking after inaugurating the 9th Asia Pacific Symposium on Cochlear Implants and Related Sciences (APSCI 2013) here.

“States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have taken the initiative for totally funding cochlear implants through their ‘Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Schemes’, which has motivated other states to follow up in the same way,” Natarajan informed.

She observed that a holistic effort by government, in collaboration with medical fraternity and society, can make a “remarkable transition in the lives of the deaf children in bringing them out of the gloomy world of silence, onto the vibrant world of sound.”

“Such an effort can be fulfilled only when technology is propagated to all rural areas across the country and the success of such an effort would lead to realising a deafness free India in the near future,” Natarajan said.

The minister said the science of deafness was undergoing rapid changes in recent times. “…There is a need for updating the recent advances among the medical and allied fraternity (otolaryngologists, audiological scientists etc) and the symposium is a step in that direction,” she said.

The APSCI 2013 is being attended by over 1,000 delegates from around 60 countries across the globe.

Source: Business Standard