5'000 children born annually with ear defects in Nigeria

By The Rainbow

No fewer than 5,000 babies are born yearly with ear defects in Nigeria. This was made known by Prof. Adewale Oke, the Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.

Oke made the disclosure on Saturday in Lagos, while briefing newsmen on the hospital's first successful middle ear implant surgery conducted in its premises.

'I know that 5, 000 new babies are being born annually in Nigeria with ear defects.

'This means they are deaf and sometimes the cause of their deafness is congenital, we call it from birth.

'Some of these babies lacked some hearing mechanism in their ears, so the best way to restore the hearing is through surgery, which has not been part of the practice before now.

'With this new innovative surgery, the person whose hearing is impaired will be able to hear and the noble thing is that the surgery is still new in Africa,' he said.

Oke said that the surgery to correct deafness was called 'Bone-bridge', and helped to open up the middle ear of the patient.

'This surgery is first of its kind and I must commend the organisation (MED EL) that deemed it fit to have the operation done in LASUTH. The organisation came on its own volition.

'They brought the device and identified patients that can afford it; they did two implants and one surgery of Bone-bridge. This is highly commendable.

'The surgery does not come with any side effect, the implants are bone- like small microchips inserted into the ears, and the only challenge is that the patient will be taught how to talk.

'Learning speech is because the person has not spoken before, so he will require the aid of a speech therapist and audiologist,' he said.

Oke said that the organisation that brought the experts had trained many of the indigenous doctors on the post-surgery requirements to enable them to continue with the innovation.

'LASUTH is happy to have recorded such a feat again; this has spelt our vision toward the provision of quality healthcare to our people,' he said.

-Emmanuel Ikechukwu