Iranian physicians have launched an audiometry charity foundation named “Forgiveness” that works as an NGO and helps hearing impaired children regain their hearing ability and raise awareness among their families.
The Forgiveness charity has called on people to bring any hearing impaired kid to this centre from every part of the country.
Dr Mohammad Taqi Khorsandi, a co-founder of the charity centre, has told Fars News Agency that “since two decades ago, with the advancement of medical science, children born deaf for genetic reasons are being treated with a cochlear implant surgery.”
However, he noted, this adds a huge amount of cost on the family, and as a result, many poor families put the treatment off due to the lack of money. “Therefore, the child is sacrificed and secluded forever and gets deprived of hearing.”
Every year, 1,500 deaf children are born in Iran. Of these, 1,300 children are enabled through cochlear implant surgery. The first three years of life is a golden time for cochlear implant, and the cost of this surgery is about 5,000 USD. If the deaf children undergo surgery before the age of three, the government will pay 90% of the costs, and each family will pay 500 dollars. However, many families cannot pay even this money due to poverty. And after the age of 3, the child loses the golden opportunity to live like ordinary people, Khorsandi went on to say.
“Some families do not even have the ability to pay taxi fare from their remote villages to the city centre and the hospital, let alone paying the costs of surgery. Years ago, when we encountered such cases, we performed the surgery at our own expense, but after a while, with the cooperation of open-handed physicians, we decided to launch a charity centre for the hearing disabled kids.”
“Within two years, we raised surgery costs for 540 deaf children. There were also some parents in remote areas who did not even know that the cochlear implant can save their child. For this reason, the slogan of our charity is: Wherever you see a deaf kid, introduce him/her to Bakhshsesh.”
The charity centre’s officials say they have 11 cochlear implant centres across Iran, and a genetic advisor works at every centre at the cost of the organisation.
Families with a deaf kid or cousin marriages are more at risk and they can prevent the birth of a hearing impaired child by genetic testing prior to pregnancy. The cost of these genetic tests is paid by Bakhshesh Centre.
In the past two years, genetic testing costs have been paid for 309 needy families and the birth of 309 deaf children was prevented. The cochlear implant surgery gives hearing ability back to the kids, but this is not the end. Servicing cochlear implant pieces’ costs 200 dollars annually; an amount that poses a serious challenge to needy families. Unfortunately, cochlear implants are imported from abroad, and Iran has not yet succeeded in localising them. Their parts need repair every year.
Moreover, economic conditions make things harder and unfortunately, the children of needy families, who cannot afford the costs of cochlear implant’s repair, cannot hear sounds and get nervous and aggressive.
In the past two years, Forgiveness Charity has paid the service costs of 2,013 cochlear implants to the needy families.
Forgiveness Charity Centre hopes that no hearing disabled child in Iran would be deprived of the pleasure of hearing because of poverty.