Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists have called on the Government to provide funding for surgery for the deaf. Dr. Micheal Awubwa, a lecturer at Makerere University, noted that if the Government funded surgeries for the deaf, people from poor families would be able to get the services. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report 2016, about 330 million people suffer with chronic ear infections or discharging ears worldwide, where 32 million are children. It further indicates that about five of every 1,000 children are born deaf or hard to hear worldwide, with about 50% cases in Sub-Sahara Africa, where Uganda falls. According to Awubwa, young people between 12 to 35 years are also at risk of suffering hearing loss, due to exposure to noise in recreation settings like headsets, headphones, and clubs. He added that about 60% hearing loss among children can be prevented and can be healed if treatment is sought early.
A CATHOLIC priest from Tororo on Thursday had his hearing restored after more than a year of deafness. Fr. Andrew Onyango was treated by five American medics together with Dr. Michael Awubwa, the head of the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) at Mulago Hospital. After the operation, Onyango was taken to the computer laboratory at the Makerere University faculty of computing and information technology to have the implant activated by internet. The operation that costs around $50,000 (about sh100m) in the US, was offered to Onyango free of charge by the Cochlear Americas company based in Colorado, USA. The company makes implantable hearing devices. â€œThe cochlear implant alone costs $25,000 (about sh50m),â€ said Prof. Thomas Roland, who led a team of three doctors and two nurses. The implant replaces the part of the damaged inner ear. It receives sound signals and sends them to the nerves, skipping the non-working parts. Roland explained that the device enables someone to decipher different sounds like speech and telephone calls. Onyango was the second Ugandan to benefit from the companyâ€™s charity. The first one was David Nuwagaba in 2008. One out of 1,000 children is born deaf, according to Awubwa, the ENT expert.
A TEAM of American and Ugandan doctors have carried out the first surgery in Africa to implant a device and restore the hearing of a patient at Mulago Hospital. David Nuwagaba, 23, from Kiruhura district, suffered a chronic infection that left him deaf almost two years ago. But thanks to Cochlear, a US-based company that manufactures implantable hearing devices, his dream of going to university might come true. On Tuesday, a team of American specialists and nurses, assisted by Ugandans, carried out an operation to restore his hearing free of charge. The surgical procedure took two hours. An incision was made in the skin behind the ear where a special â€˜cochlearâ€™ device was implanted. The device enables somebody to decipher sounds ranging from speech, telephone calls, running water and the chirping of birds, explained Thomas Roeland, an Associate Professor at the New York University School of Medicine, who headed the team. The cochlear forms the inner ear, which transmits sound waves through cells that pick the vibrations which are transmitted to the brains.>