Tanzanian children with hearing impairments no longer have to leave the shores of their country to obtain life-changing surgery. The renowned Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) has launched electronic cochlear implants which replace the damaged inner ear functions by actually transmitting signals to the brain.
Five children have presently undergone the surgical procedures, and have been placed under palliative care and engaged in speech therapy. MNH foresees the treatment of at least 24 patients with the ailment each year. In light of this development, the Tanzanian government has placed a ban on sponsored referrals to get such procedures done abroad considering the fact that it is being conducted at a lesser cost at home.
The government has also charged the hospital to try to scale up the number of annual procedures from 24 to 100. Tanzanian Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children proffers that the implant procedure spreads to all the major public hospitals in Tanzania. Tanzania is now the second country in the East African region to offer cochlear implants to patients, after Kenya.
Addressing the various issues surrounding hearing loss and deafness among children has been on the radar in Tanzania’s health sector for quite some time.