Qatar relaunched its cochlear implant programme in Gaza after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A Qatari medical delegation under Hamad Medical Corporation successfully conducted cochlear implants for 50 hearing-impaired children in the besieged Gaza Strip, authorities confirmed on Saturday.
The $1.5 million programme, financed by Qatar Fund for Development and the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, was launched to aid kids with hearing disabilities, said Senior Consultant and Hearing and Balance Disorders and Director of the Auditor and Balance Unit at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Dr. Khaled Abdul Hadi.
The children were selected during the delegation’s previous visit based on specific measures, including those who are deaf in both ears, with particular focus on those under the age of five, said Dr. Khaled Abdul Hadi.
“Hamad Hospital recently operated the balance unit and the calibration service in the audiological examination – two services that are being provided in Gaza for the first time.
“The hydrotherapy service was also launched to help speed up rehabilitation treatment for people with amputations and various disabilities,” he added.
The cochlear implant programme is a process that doesn’t end with the conclusion of the surgery. Children who successfully recover from the operation undergo auditory verbal training to become prepared to reintegrate into society.
As part of the initiative, the Qatari medical team will also train local Palestinians during the visit to perform cochlear implant operations accurately and according to international protocols, to ensure that the local team is completely self-reliant in performing such operations.
Each cochlear implant operation costs around $32,000, as devices are manufactured by major international companies and approved by the American Food and Drug Organization.
Head of ENT and Cochlear implant at HMC Dr. Abdul Salam Al Qahtani also announced a surgeon who specialises in cochlear implants has been appointed in Gaza.
“I announce the appointment of Dr. Mohamed Mourad, head of ENT at Shifa hospital,” he said in a statement on the sidelines of the press conference.
The surgeon is qualified to perform similar operations in the absence of the Qatari medical team and with medical supervision through visual communication.
Dr. Khaled Abdul Hadi said “the Audiology Department at Sheikh Hamad Hospital, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in Gaza, was able to integrate 126 children into regular schools and kindergartens .”
Sheikh Hamad Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limbs has been working since 2019 to provide qualitative rehabilitation services to patients and people with disabilities through its three main departments:hearing and balance department, medical rehabilitation department, and prosthetics department.
On Friday, Chairman of Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee Mohammed Al-Emadi said the strip is heading towards a better future.
In a meeting with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in Gaza last week, Al Emadi said Qatar is exerting great efforts to cooperate with all parties, including Israeli authorities and the Palestinians, to prevent a new round of tensions in the enclave.
Meanwhile, Qatar has recently resumed financial aid to thousands of families in the besieged strip, after months of delays by the occupying Israeli authorities.
The Qatari official also said the reconstruction of homes and facilities destroyed during the brutal Israeli offensive in May will commence soon.
“The reconstruction will be faster than it was following the previous wars,” he said, referring to the reconstruction process following the Israeli attacks in 2008/9, 2012 and 2014.
“The future for Gaza is bright, you’ve seen how conditions have improved. There are signs that the next year or coming years,” Al Emadi added.