Cost revolution on the horizon for cochlear implants in India


India is looking at new ways to make cochlear implants and the corresponding surgery more widely available and more affordable, reports the Times of India.

Cost revolution on the horizon for cochlear implants in India

Not long ago, the cost of fitting children in need of cochlear implants (CIs) in India was close to INR 11 lakh (equivalent to USD 25,000). After the introduction of competitive bids and a support program to provide more CIs, the cost fell by nearly half.

Now, with greater numbers of orders and more hospitals approved to perform the surgery, it is hoped that the cost will decrease even further. The aim is to bring this life-changing solution to much greater numbers of hearing-impaired children in India.

But the Indian government does not plan to stop there, say reports. The Defence R&D organisation, DRDO, recently presented the implant it has developed. It is a much more affordable version of available solutions for hearing-speech impairment but has not yet undergone the clinical trials required for its use. “We are committed to making cochlear implants cheap and are looking at clinical trials for what the DRDO has developed,” explains Awanish Awasthi, Joint Secretary in charge of Disability at the Ministry of Social Justice.

According to estimates, about 10,000 children need implants annually in the country and only Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra states provide the surgery in small numbers. That’s just 5 states out of 29. Officials admit that implants cannot be offered to all children who need them because of the cost, but the government has put the DRDO implant at the top of its priority list.

Source: The Times of India