2K children in state to get cochlear implants

Health Minister Ramesh Kumar on Tuesday launched the ‘Deafness Free Karnataka’ project to provide cochlear implants to nearly 2,000 children below the age of six years.

He laid the foundation stone for a 25-bed dialysis centre at KC General Hospital in the presence of Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil and KPCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao.

Kumar said deafness since birth should be identified early by screening newborns and if hearing aids do not help, they should get cochlear implants. “This should be done when the children are between eight months and six years of age,” he said.

He said the new dialysis centre will provide affordable service to the poor in the coming days. “Though government hospitals provide quality and affordable treatment, people are apprehensive about using their services. I keep hearing jokes that if you enter government hospitals, you won’t come out alive. We need to change this mentality,” he said.

Kumar said he will soon come up with “good news” with regard to regulating private hospitals. “We will come up with it in 15 days,” he added.

Under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, which is funding the cochlear implant project, children are screened for 38 health conditions. The programme benefits all anganwadi children from birth to six years.

The state government has identified 1,939 children who will undergo preoperative evaluation, implant surgery and postoperative audio-verbal therapy for one year. Rs 5.1 lakh is being spent on each child.

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