Nigeria's ENT chief urges state to subsidise cochlear implantation



Government facilitation of Nigeria's cochlear implant market could bring benefit for many more child CI candidates in the country, says Dr. Biodun Olusesi, President of the Otorhinolaryngological Society of Nigeria.

Nigeria’s ENT chief urges state to subsidise cochlear implantation

Reported in the Nigerian daily newspaper The Punch, Dr. Olusesi called for the government to waive medical device importation duties that affect cochlear implants (CIs), or to subsidise CI treatment, as many other other countries do.

Dr. Olusesi, who is head of ENT at the National Hospital in the capital city, Abuja, pointed out that children presenting with hearing impairment that cannot be treated with hearing aids or regular surgery can benefit from CIs. He urges state and federal governments in Nigeria to help more patients have access to this benefit.

The Sub-Saharan hearing market – "a long journey"

The ENT expert spoke at a September product launch and CI report presentation in Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, featuring the Australian manufacturer Cochlear, which is working closely with local distributors and medical specialists to place its technology in Nigerian hospitals, as well as in other sub-Saharan African countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Namibia.

According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) "No sub-Saharan African market except Tanzania currently provides public funding for cochlear implants. Cochlear’s focus is to secure public funding for its hospital partners, using the World Health Organisation’s World Report on Hearing as a door-opener to conversations with government."

"The Trade Commissioner in South Africa asked for our agenda when he met with the newly appointed Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria," says Davide Profeta, Cochlear’s Area Sales Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, on the AusTrade website. "These facilitations are helpful for us."

‘There’s nowhere like Africa, that’s for sure,’ continues Profeta. "But it’s a long journey. You have to work on it every day. Results will come, but later, and not as frequently as you might expect in other markets. You have to be resilient."

Source: Punch/Australian Trade and Investment Commission