Collaboration between the Egyptian ministry of health and the private sector saw the opening of the first rehabilitation center in Egypt that specialises in promoting the health of patients with hearing loss.
The event, which took place on the 4th of July, gathered leading surgeons and doctors in the field, and was attended by Prof. Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, official spokesman of the ministry of health.
The cooperation of the private sector was manifested by the presence of Austrian Cochlear implants company MED-EL, which announced that the rehabilitation for all patients of cochlear ear implants would be free for the first six months.
The facility, which lies on the outskirts of Heliopolis district, is the first of its kind in Egypt and aims at providing children who have implants with the best rehabilitation, which requires advanced and intensive therapy with auditory and language skills. The programmes in the center include art and music classes which create a unique educational experience for the kids.
Special attention is paid to the importance of preparing the families and providing them with essential counseling and guidance, thus enabling them to be an effective and positive part of the children's rehabilitation process.
Dr Hossam Abdel Ghaffar stressed that it is a source of pride to develop the first specialised center of its kind in Egypt, adding that successful social integration of patients of cochlear ear implants is solely dependent on the quality of rehabilitation available, as well as the dedication of the family to the treatment plan.
Dr. Hochmair, CEO of MED-EL, elaborated on the importance of the collaboration of civil society, private sector and the government to provide the right atmosphere for patients with cochlear implants and integrate them into the society in a way that realises their full potential.
In the centre, which can host up to 300 patients, children are trained individually and within groups and a process of continuous evaluation takes place every three months to assure that required goals are met and progress is attained before the patients integrate into the society.
It was announced that within a year, two more similar centres would be opened in Alexandria and Upper Egypt to give access to other parts of the country to the same service.
Because of the alarming increase in people suffering from hearing loss worldwide, the World Health Organization took the decision in 2007 to declare the 3rd of March each year as World Ear Care day.
The choice of the date of 3/3 is symbolic and intriguing, as it refers to the due resemblance of hearing abilities in the two ears.
According to the ministry of health, hearing impairment threatens 13.6 million people in Egypt and the region.