Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Nov 06, 2005

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |

National Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Let defect-free hearing, speech be our mission: Kalam

Special Correspondent

Instil a sense of equality and independence in the disabled

  • Remove causes of disability
  • The number of people with profound hearing disability in India is over one million
  • Develop cost-effective cochlear implant

    — Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

    President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam with children at the 3rd National Conference of Cochlear Implant Group of India in New Delhi on Saturday. — Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

    NEW DELHI: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Saturday asked industry to provide employment to the disabled to instil in them a sense of equality and liberty.

    Disability reduced self-esteem and increased dependence on others, especially in rural settings, he said inaugurating the third cochlear implant workshop here, organised by the Cochlear Implantation Group of India.

    Defect-free hearing and speech for all should be the national mission.

    Andhra Pradesh model

    Ear problem in children could be corrected, if diagnosed early. "I would suggest that societal organisations launch a `hearing and speech for kids' programme on the lines of the `sight for kids' launched by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Teams of paramedical personnel can visit nearby schools and villages and examine children for possible hearing and speech defects."

    Equality could be generated first by removing the causes of disability such as hearing impairment. This could be achieved by providing devices and systems to enable the disabled to carry out their tasks without dependence. They could also be helped to achieve economic independence by providing vocational skills. Organisations and industry should offer such jobs to the disabled, Mr. Kalam said.

    As per recent statistics, in India the number of people with profound hearing disability was about one million. In addition, there were over 1.2 million with severe hearing disability, 0.9 million with moderate disability and 7.1 million with very mild disability.

    "Reach out to rural areas"

    The three categories could be treated with conventional and digital hearing aids. "Many ENT specialists spread across the country are doing this to a certain extent. But this has got to be intensified in remote rural areas where people with disability suffer silently."

    Cochlear implant coupled with computer-aided training helped persons regain near-normal hearing/speaking capability. There were three challenges in removing profound hearing disability: production of a cost-effective cochlear implant, a less invasive procedure and finding kind-hearted doctors who would do the implant and train patients. Now implants cost Rs. 6 lakhs-Rs. 8 lakhs apiece and the total cost of the operation including rehabilitation worked out to Rs. 10 lakhs. This was unaffordable to many.

    In the absence of insurance of social service schemes, there was need to adopt a three-pronged approach to the problem. The corporate world could bear the cost of cochlear implant to a certain number of patients. Secondly, there must be a concerted effort by scientists and engineers in collaboration with ENT specialists, neurologists, audiologists and paediatricians to develop a cost-effective implant through a mission-mode programme.

    The government could consider waiving customs duty and sales tax on import of cochlear implant.

    Printer friendly page  
    Send this article to Friends by E-Mail


    News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
    Classifieds | Employment | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |

  • News Update

    The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
    Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

    Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu