What can you tell us about Esma3ny and who the initiative targets?
Esma3ny was founded mainly for the purpose of aiding children with hearing loss by obtaining cochlear ear implants. Our goal is to raise awareness on the problem of hearing loss to help detect it in children at an early age before total deafness is a result of negligence. Detecting hearing loss in children is very tricky oftentimes because children are misconceived inattentive and intellectually lacking before being diagnosed with the real problem. This is how the idea of our initiative was born: Esma3ny began when the founder of the campaign, Ashraf Ibrahim, merely thought his son was having a hard time being attentive to his mother for unknown reasons; however, when one day the door was slammed shut and his son was the only one not to have been startled, Ashraf knew what the problem was. He then created the campaign with the main objective of raising awareness on the matter, after his social media pages on Facebook reached a whopping over 540,000 followers, his goal was thankfully fulfilled. It is of the utmost importance for parents to detect this problem in their children as early as possible before it is too late. If your child is not responsive or attentive, it is easy to think they may suffer autism or retardation, but they could also simply be suffering hearing loss!
When was it created?
The center was opened in Cairo last year, and now welcomes 50 patients on a weekly basis for rehabilitation.
You have stressed on early detection multiple times. What makes it so important?
For several reasons: The first is that it is highly likely for the parent to be oblivious to the real problem, as we said before, parents usually think of other interpretations and hearing loss is not the first that crosses their minds. Another reason is, if detected early, cochlear implants are best utilized before the age of five because this is the critical time of learning, and hearing loss could hinder it greatly, which as a result may cause psychological complications if not treated in advance and complete hearing loss in a child’s life where they live in silence. We are mainly concerned about it in less economically developed governorates in Egypt where mothers do not have access to primary healthcare and are oblivious to the dangers of hearing loss.
So there’s hope to cure those in which the problem was detected early?
Of course, when the surgery is successfully done by experienced doctors who provide adequate rehabilitation postop, the cure rate is 100%! Of course, the operation can never succeed without recuperative care done by trained professionals, which proves to be even more crucial than the operation itself. We must make sure that the child has acquired the capability to interpret the phonemes heard and communicate them properly.
How long does the rehabilitative phase last?
We run two systems: the full day system is run from 9am to 2pm every day except Fridays and Saturdays, and the other is an individual system where sessions addressing the child is done by giving three sessions per week. This lasts three months and the child is then evaluated to see how much the course has benefited them to be able to determine if they’re ready for the next level.
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