Mangaluru: The Health and Family Welfare Minister, U T Khader, held a press meet at the Circuit House here, on July 11.
Addressing the mediapersons, U T Khader said that the health department has decided to make Karnataka a deaf and dumb free state. “As a pilot scheme, we have taken Dakshina Kannada district. Through this scheme, we have organized a camp to identify the affected children.”
In every hospital, children will checked for any hearing problems and this will be mandatory in all the hospitals. The test will be done as soon as the child is born instead of waiting for the child to grow and the parents to notice the hearing problem.
“Under this scheme, we have identified 120 children and we will distribute the necessary equipment free of cost. If using the equipment does not give favorable results, surgery will be done. We had identified 13 children from the district who required surgery. Out of the 13, 10 children have already undergone surgery while the parents of 2 children refused to do surgery and one child has some health issues. All the 13 children are below 5 years of age.”
Every newborn child will be tested for hearing problems and if found positive, they will be operated when they are 8 months old. He said that parents should come forward to carry out the test. Surgery with the cochlear implant will cost around Rs 10 to 12 lakh; the central government will provide Rs 3 lakh and the state government Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh. A child having hearing problem will undergo surgery free of cost.
“Mostly when the child is born, we do not check them. When they grow, we will realise the problem that the child faces. To prevent such a situation, we have made the hearing test compulsory in all the hospitals. The government will provide equipment to all hospitals. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has implemented ‘Assistance to Disabled Persons Scheme (ADIP)’. Under the scheme, 1000 implants will be done in the current year. Children whose parents earn below Rs 15000 per month are eligible under this scheme.”
Speaking on the occasion Padmashree awardee Prof (Dr) J M Hans explained about the Cochlear implant, which is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin; a microphone, which picks up sound from the environment; a speech processor, which selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone; a transmitter and receiver/stimulator, which receive signals from the speech processor and converts them into electric impulses; an electrode array, which is a group of electrodes that collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve. “An implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it can give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and help him or her to understand speech,” he said.
ENT/ Otalaryngologist Manasa Neuropsychiatric Hospital Dr Vasanthi Anand speaking on the occasion said, “So far, we have done 50 implants for children below 5 years and all the children are healthy and have responded well. People do not know about cochlear implant; in this regard, awareness is very much important and the media should play a vital role in spreading it. Parents should come forward and co-operate with the doctors to carry out the implant. Some parents are afraid to send their children for surgery. If the surgery is done below the age of 5, the child will respond very well. If the problem will be diagnosed early, the child can undergo surgery when it reach 8 months and there will be no need to send any child to a deaf and dumb school. Infact, we do not need such schools for our children if we diagnose the problem at an early stage”, she said.
Khader also said that the Chief Minister will release 150 additional 108 ambulances to replace the old ones. He also said, “When the sessions were going on, Kota Srinivas Poojary staged a protest outside my office. Why does he not stage a protest when people work for a salary of Rs 1500 to Rs 3000 salary in the Gram Panchayat? Why is he not fighting for them to get more salary? NRHM staff are not permanent and they work on a contract basis. We have increased their salary from Rs 5800 to 10500 but Kota Srinivas is demanding Rs 17250 for contract nurses which is not possible.”
Dr Hans and Dr Vasanthi Anand were felicitated by U T Khader with a shawl, memento and garland for their yeomen service. Dr Rajeshwari, Dr Ramakrishna Rao, District Lions Government Kavitha Shastri, Audiologists Prathivi and Rexy were also present.