Elaine Mukaaya and her father Eddie were invited by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to present at a special seminar on hearing loss on World Hearing Day. This is the first time a child cochlear recipient has addressed the WHO.
My name is Elaine. I am ten years old. I bring you greetings from Uganda. I wear Cochlear implants. Without them I can’t hear you. I am in fourth grade. I like math, science and reading. When I grow up want to be a Robotic Engineer to help many deaf children learn to talk.
Eddie Mukaaya described his heart ache as the parent of a deaf child in Uganda. The long road to diagnosis, cochlear implant surgery and intensive speech therapy in the US, served as a reminder of the importance of the WHO’s work and the value of efforts under the guidance of Dr Shelly Chadha, Medical Officer, to prevent hearing loss and improve access to hearing care and hearing solutions globally.
Eddie Mukaaya said he and Elaine had travelled to Geneva for World Hearing Day “to make the voice of the voiceless be heard.” The strong presence of leading CI advocates at WHO headquarters was testament to the fact that the CI community certainly shares that sentiment!
Elaine is believed to be the first Ugandan child cochlear recipient. Once Elaine’s parents learned about CI and of its suitability for Elaine, they found a pathway for their daughter outside Uganda. Elaine now has two implants and great results, thanks in no small part to a compassionate ENT surgeon and an excellent team of audiologists from the US.
Almost insurmountable challenges to accessing hearing technology persist in Uganda today. The work of the WHO to make hearing health a global priority means that this will change in the years ahead. We are inspired by the way many cochlear recipients give their time and energy to engage in advocacy towards improved public policies so that others can have a better future.
Cochlear Ltd aims to transform the way the wider public understands and treats hearing loss. Our mission statement is to help people to hear and be heard.
That’s why we support the WHO’s 2017 World Hearing Day theme ‘Action for hearing loss: make a sound investment’ which draws attention to the economic impact of hearing loss globally and the actions which can be undertaken to address it.
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