Cuba celebrates 21 years of CI programme



A total of 480 patients have now received cochlear implants (CIs) in Cuba thanks to the state's own CI programme, which chalked up 21 years of activity on December 4.

Implant patient no. 480 was operated on the day before the anniversary by surgeon Dr. Manuel Enrique Sevila Salas at the prestigious Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital in Havana.

The Cuban Cochlear Implant Programme handles full state coverage for the CI process from diagnosis to surgery, including replacement of the device every six years and maintenance. It prioritises child cases, but adults have also received implants under the programme.

At a special access and disability workshop to celebrate both the anniversary of the CI programme and the December 10 anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, Dr. Sevila, who has worked in CIs for 14 of his more than 30 years in medicine, underlined the impact of the technology: "The cochlear implant is not just a hearing channel but a pathway to being able to live better, to having quality of life, and this is a human right."

Representing the Cuban Minstry of Public Health at the anniversary, Dr. Osmara Delgado Sánchez pointed out that the country has more than 25,980 people with a hearing disability, of which 5,380 are children. Since January of this year, Cuba has been running a nationwide universal newborn screening programme to spot hearing anomalies in babies and identify cases apt for implants.

Source: Trabajadores; Bohemia