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Kenya has witnessed the successful surgery of its inaugural Cochlear Implant Surgery.

The Cochlear implant surgery is a procedure that helps individuals with severe hearing loss regain their ability to hear thereby improving quality of life.

The surgery was undertaken at the  Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), making it  the first public hospital to undertake the specialist surgery in East and  Central African region.

The surgery, which took 2 hours, was on a young lady who was diagnosed with post-lingual sensorineural hearing loss.

Making the announcement, the hospital said the implant surgery was undertaken by a team of medics included Dr. Menach Owen, an ENT/ Otolaryngologist at the referral hospital, and Professor Badr Eldin Mostafa from Ain Shams University, Egypt assisted by Dr. Rotich Gerald, Scrub Nurses Francis Koskei and Fridah Kotut, and Audiologist Angela Kiragu.

During the delicate surgery,  the surgeon makes a small incision behind the ear and then creates an opening in the mastoid bone to guide the electrode to the cochlea.

The John Hopkins University further explains that the implant electrodes are placed inside the cochlea. The surgeon places an internal processor in a pocket between the muscle and bone behind the ear.

“The surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, and a small incision is made behind the ear to access the Cochlear”, the hospital explained.

The Anesthesia Team was led by Dr. Kimani Mbugua, Dr. Solomon Mwau and  Henry Kemei.

“This surgery can be performed on pre-lingual; children below three (3) years who have not developed hearing and speech and post-lingual; older children and adults who have developed hearing and speech but lost hearing, ” MTRH added on its social media post.

While commending the team for the successful procedure, MTRH said the Cochlear surgery will significantly improve the hearing and quality of life for people with severe hearing loss.

“After surgery these patients are able to contribute their full potential towards the Society, ” it stated.

Cochlear implants allow deaf people to receive and process sounds and speech. According to medical journals, the internal device is designed to last for a lifetime, and the manufacturers offer a ten year warranty, with some restrictions.

However, these devices do not restore normal hearing. They are tools that allow sound and speech to be processed and sent to the brain.

The cochlear implant surgery typically costs approximately KES2,500,000 to KES3,000,000 in Kenya.