Saturday, March 06, 2010

Penniless parents of hearing impaired child in distress

Penniless parents of hearing impaired child in distress

KARACHI: Just like every newborn brings happiness to its parents, Loot also brought joy to his mother and father.

However, when Loot was two years old, his parents discovered that he had been suffering from a hearing impairment since birth.

Loot’s father Muhammad Jamil had wanted his son to become a doctor, but now Loot himself has become a patient.

According to the doctors, he has a hearing loss in both ears, which means he would never be able to listen and thus, he would never be able to speak either. After consulting different doctors, Loot’s underprivileged family found out that they would have to manage a huge sum of Rs 1.6 million for cochlear implantation.

Since Loot’s family was unable to afford this amount for the treatment, Jamil started searching for philanthropist organisations that could aid him. He found a hospital in Lahore, Punjab where the treatment would have been free-of-cost.

However, when the depressed father rushed to Lahore, the hospital administration said they didn’t treat people from any other province.

Jamil expressed surprise over philanthropists considering regions and races in medical matters and said,

“The hospital has asked me to approach the Sindh chief minister for treatment expenses. But how can I approach him? I request the federal and provincial governments, and philanthropists to help my son.”

The treatment is only possible until the age of three and Loot will turn three in 10 months; therefore, he needs help as soon as possible, he added.

Renowned otologist Dr Sohail Awan of the Aga Khan University Hospital said, “This disability is not unique or strange as we receive two patients of this kind every month.”

This condition is slowly becoming common in Pakistan for different reasons including increasing population, climate change and use of toxic medicines, he added. The World Health Organisation estimates that around 278 million people worldwide have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears.