As many as 500 children who were born with congenital hearing loss will get cochlear implant, Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said on Sunday.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had announced the creation of ‘Hearing Impairment Free Karnataka’ in the 2022-23 state budget.
In the current financial year, 1,939 children below the age of six years have been identified with hearing impairment, Sudhakar said.
”The Karnataka government will gift to 500 children below the age of six who were born with congenital hearing loss by providing them with free Cochlear Implants,” the minister said in a statement.
He added that the state health department is working on a mission mode with a slogan ‘Health for All’ to cover every aspect of health and well-being and a new initiative has been planned to make Karnataka free from hearing impairments.
Special attention has been given to eliminating hearing loss in children under six years of age, Sudhakar further said.
Most of them have suffered from congenital deafness and the main reason for this is the mother’s consumption of medicine, viral infection, suffocation and shock during the prenatal period, the minister said.
According to Sudhakar, a cochlear implant is a small electronic device that helps children with severe and profound hearing loss hear sounds. The implant is inserted into the cochlear of the inner ear.
”The processor of the device is placed behind the ear, and the hearing mechanism of the human body that had been dormant starts working again and transmits the audio signals to the brain,” the minister explained.
He also said that an honorarium of Rs 250 will be given to each ASHA worker who has helped in identifying such children and have aided in the entire process.
Sudhakar said 20 hospitals including KC General Hospital, Indira Gandhi Children’s Institute, Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, Bangalore Medical College – BMCRI, KIMS Hubli have been identified to perform the procedure as they are well equipped for surgery.
Beneficiaries are identified by audiology teams working under National Programme for the Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD) in collaboration with Mobile Health Teams under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK).
The identified eligible children will be sent to taluk and district-level hospitals for further evaluation and management, the minister said.