Nagpur: The Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) will be able to provide’ cochlear implant surgeries ‘ free of cost to the poor in a period of 3 months. The college has recently received approval from the centre under the Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aid or Appliances (ADIP) scheme to perform the surgery on children with disability. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has been working on this project for the past one year.
It was the GMCH Eye Nose Throat (ENT) Department Head Dr Kalpana Dasgupta who on 3rd October 2016 had proposed the project, which was then forwarded to the centre by the College Dean, Dr Abhimanyu Niswade. The approval from the centre for the project came in on March 6, 2017.
Earlier the NGO Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Institute of Medical Science and Human Resource had written to Minister Gadkari regarding the requirement for a free of cost facility at the GMCH. Gadkari on his part on March 3, 2016 forwarded the letter to Social Justice Minister, Thaawarchand Gehlot.
Dr Viral Kamdar, the NGO Director and advisor to Gadkari said, “Research has shown that if these children receive cochlear implant followed by intensive therapy before 18 months, they are better able to hear, comprehend sound and speak.”
Dr Kanchan Tadke, Project Coordinator, GMCH & an associate professor at the ENT said, , “Any child below five years of age will be eligible for the implant regardless of the family income. The surgeries cost around Rs6.50 lakhs. The surgery will be free of cost for people with monthly income below Rs15,000. For one whose income falls between 15 and 20,000 will have to bear 50% cost of the surgery. While the ones with income above 20,000 will not get any cost benefit.”
Gadkari elaborating on the disability added, “Hearing loss is the third chronic disability following arthritis and hypertension. Five of 10 children are born to parents who can hear. Considering the sensitivity of the problem there is a dire need to provide the facility to Nagpur which is centrally located and well connected with rail road and air.”
Dr Tadke said,speaking about the project said, “The entire set-up of cochlear implant will be created in the existing ENT department. We will be utilizing the existing Operation Theatre (OT). Separate scape will be allotted for Cochlear out Patient Department (OPD) and a rehability unit. In coming days we will be working out on it. We are making efforts to create two posts for audiologist and speech therapist, “told the TOI.