Tanzania moving forward in providing cochlear implants


Some Tanzanian children with hearing impairments are now able to remain inside the country to undergo cochlear implant surgery, reports Ventures Africa.

The renowned Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar-es-Salaam, the country’s biggest city, has launched an electronic cochlear implants program to bring this technology to local children. So far, five children have been treated and are receiving post-implant speech therapy to ensure they benefit as much as possible from the devices.

MNH plans to treat at least 24 patients with hearing loss each year. Importantly, the Tanzanian government has now placed a ban on sponsored referrals to get these procedures done abroad, considering the fact that treatment is now possible for a lower cost inside Tanzania. The government would also like the hospital to scale up its program to perform up to 100 operations annually. The country is the second in East Africa, after Kenya, to offer this type of surgery.

In 2014, Tanzania implemented a major public health campaign to tackle the root causes of hearing loss, including childhood viral infections like rubella. The article points out how extreme cases of deafness not only affect hearing but can also cause meningitis and other potentially serious complications. It mentions that overall, East, West, and Central Africa have the third highest prevalence of hearing impairments among children in the world.

Source: Ventures Africa