This is part of our annual, series, “14 Days, 14 Stories”, about ordinary Pakistanis who are doing extraordinary things.
Hearing impairments are on the rise in Pakistan. Each new year brings almost 7-8 persons per 1000 persons affected by it, and the rate keeps on increasing every year. Pakistan at this point has a population of 300,000 deaf persons.
The leading causes of hearing impairments are cousin marriages, lack of proper treatment for the mother and child, and lastly the lack of oxygenation at the time of birth.
These problems can be addressed with access to proper health care. If people are equipped to make the right diagnosis, then they can be treated accordingly to improve their condition. However, it is no surprise that our public health care system has not been devised in a manner that it accommodates the population according to their needs.
Society for Audiological & Developmental Ailment (SADA) is a non-governmental organization working in Lahore precisely for the cause of providing cochlear implants to children who cannot afford the procedure
It was inaugurated in the year 2014 under the leadership Dr. Afzaal Alam (consultant audiologist) who has been practicing in Lahore for 25 years. It was his vision of giving back to the society especially little children who are hearing impaired or born deaf but can not afford the required treatment.
According to SADA, the hearing aid at this point is too expensive for many people to be able to afford. The most expensive hearing aid at this point is available at the price of Rs. 30,000/-. However, not all hearing impairments can be resolved by hearing aid. In many cases, surgery is required and cochlear implants are required. That procedure itself costs around Rs. 1,500,000/- to Rs. 2,200,000/-.
SADA, therefore, provides free of cost hearing testing to underprivileged patients (primarily children) and also provides them with high-quality hearing aids – free of cost. The turning point in their NGO has been the provision of highly subsidized Cochlear Implant surgeries which allow a deaf child to restore to a normal hearing by having performed a cochlear implant surgery. Such a surgery would otherwise cost over Rs. 1.6 million /- but SADA aims to subsidize it to the greatest extent, if not completely free of cost.
Just a few years ago they also inaugurated the “Alam School for Speech and Learning”
It currently has 30 students enrolled and once again they are provided free of cost education and speech therapy so that they can be prepared for mainstream schools in due time.
Usman was implanted 6 years ago, this video was made two days ago.MashAllah!
Gepostet von SADA – Hearing Solutions am Montag, 30. Juli 2018
A lot of the children who receive these implants have lost all hope because neither can they afford the treatment nor did they have any hope that anyone would help them like this. Many, after getting the implants, just sit in disbelief at the realization that the procedure will help retain the sense of hearing. This initiative brings smiles to many faces who had lost all hope and went from one hospital to another only to be told that without finances, they cannot get treated.
Despite the popular belief that NGOs work on foreign agendas, NGOs do take a lot of responsibility off of the state’s shoulder because the state is not meeting the requirements of the population
Providing free of cost services to a population which is already at the losing end of the spectrum due to lack of opportunities and no policy-making to improve their situation, it is wonderful to see civil society members wanting to play their part in the society. It takes a lot of time, especially for developed countries, to provide basic necessities to the majority of the population let alone people who fall in the category of minorities (disabled persons being one example).
It is important to support such ventures and encourage many more who are trying to play a positive role in the society and bridge the gap between the those who can afford these procedures and those who cannot.
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For more stories from our series about extraordinary Pakistanis check out “14 Days, 14 Stories”.
cover image via sada.com.pk