Hyderabad, November 19, 2019: The Apollo Cochlear Implant Clinic, the first such clinic in south India, began its services way back in 1994 at the Apollo Health City, Hyderabad under the leadership of renowned ENT Surgeon, Dr E. C. Vinaya Kumar, has achieved a major landmark, with the performing of more than 1500 Cochlear implantations. The team has cornered the distinction of being one of the largest Cochlear Implant Program in India and South Asia, as Apollo Program marks the momentous Silver Jubilee.
Apollo Cochlear Implant program was the trailblazer for most cochlear implant programs currently running in India. Initially, the team conducted several workshops, seminars, awareness programs to educate professionals, patients and the general public. It played a crucial role in popularizing the program by mentoring and training cochlear implant Surgeons, Audiologists and Rehabilitationists in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Odisha, West Bengal etc., thereby thousands of kids in these states gained the hearing ability, who otherwise would have remained deaf and neglected by the society.
The multidisciplinary Apollo Cochlear Implant team has enormous expertise in evaluating and implanting very young children, including infants. Its expertise enabled children and adults of all ages with hearing impairment to benefit. The patients rehabilitated through Cochlear implantation by the team are as young as 9 months old babies to 87 years elderly population, says Dr E. C. Vinaya Kumar, Sr. Consultant ENT Surgeon, Apollo Health City. When we started the Apollo Cochlear Clinic in 1994, it was the first in South India. Initially, we had several hitches as there was hardly any awareness about this revolutionary technology and also children were not allowed to be implanted as the USA FDA was yet to accord clearance of Cochlear Implant for children. Today this accomplishment has special significance as compared to several centres in the USA and Europe, we have the least complication rates.
Dr Kumar said, We also hold the world record for performing the highest number of Cochlear Implant surgeries in a single day in 2006, did 18 implants from 4 am to 8 pm, this was to allay the fear of parents of it being a major surgery which children can’t cope with and to prove that this is safe and beneficial for the child. About 15 years ago we realized that there were several children with hearing impairment who weren’t under the purview of Arogyasri and were deprived of the benefit of Cochlear Implant Surgery, so that prompted us to start an NGO called SAHI, which conducted camps in remote areas, so far we have screened 15000 children and SAHI has helped about 335 children with partial or total donation of cochlear implants. SAHI was instrumental in convincing Shri YS Rajashekar Reddy to include the expensive Cochlear Implants in the Arogyasri and this benefitted several children from the deprived sections of the society, besides inspiring other states to adopt it for the benefit of kids there. Also through SAHI, we had a special program for the Girl child, as we realised parents neglected girl child with hearing impairment and made no attempt to get them treated, unlike a male child. Under this initiative of SAHI, we provided a Cochlear implant for girl children free of cost.
According to Dr Vinay Kumar, The news just out is that every child born in Andhra Pradesh will be screened for hearing ability as part of the vaccination program, that helps early detection and a child found to have hearing impairment will be provided with Cochlear Implant, if needed bilateral implants, which again is for the first time in the country. Our aim is to ensure no child with hearing impairment is deprived of hearing ability with the availability of Cochlear implant, as lack of hearing ability leads to the child being dumb besides being deaf for the lifetime.
In the course of these 25 glorious years, the Apollo Cochlear implant clinic has won several laurels, including a world record for doing the highest number of surgeries in a single day. It has the highest surgical success rate (i.e. lowest complications) compared to European multicenter statistics.
The Apollo Cochlear Implant program is one of the stupendous initiatives of the Apollo Health City, it enabled to bring a ray of hope for several parents of stone deaf little children and brought these kids into the mainstream, today they are leading a life of dignity and are doing extremely well in their chosen path, says Mr Y. Subramanyam, CEO, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad.
It was the Apollo Cochlear implant program which influenced the then Andhra Pradesh government to include free cochlear implant surgeries under Rajiv Aarogyasree scheme and sought the help of the NGO, Society to Aid the Hearing Impaired (SAHI). Later this model was replicated by many state governments in their health schemes and the central government too adopted it in the ADIP cochlear implant program.
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