Steve Biko Academic Hospital Board-Robert Kerr Trust Health Programme
Steve Biko Academic Hospital Board-Robert Kerr Trust Health Programme reconnects qualifying financially and socially disadvantaged hearing-impaired people to the world of sound and a meaningful life.
Hearing is a basic sense, an obvious function that is often taken for granted. It connects us to people, our environment. We play, talk, express, learn and experience in sound and words. We live and love by it. For hearing-impaired people, the world can be a silent, isolated place and life’s options can be limited.
Silence to sound
Hearing loss is the worlds’ number one treatable disability. About 53 million people worldwide has a degree of hearing impairment.
Medical technology has made it possible to restore hearing impairment by means of a cochlear implant.
The Steve Biko Academic Hospital Board initiated a programme to reconnect people to the world of sound.
In the words of our first cochlear-implant recipient who had been unable to hear for 15 years: ‘I cannot even begin to explain to people what it is like to hear again. To hear the birds in the morning – that is what I missed most.’
A cochlear implant
A cochlear implant makes a substantial difference to the life of a hearing-impaired person. Recipients feel they have been given an opportunity to “start over”.
The benefits extend far beyond being reconnected to sound. They can:
- move forward in life with renewed confidence
- be reconnected to people, loved ones and their environment
- develop/regain spoken language
- improve the quality of their lives
- hear everyday sounds like a barking dog, telephone, door bell
- attend a mainstream school or learning Institution
- expand their career opportunities
- increase their income potential
- live and function independently
- participate in sport and community activities
- reduce their reliance on social services/ grants.
A cochlear-implant device costs about R289 000, depending on the exchange rate which totally out of the financial reach of qualifying, but financially-disadvantaged state patients.
Our first recipient asserted: ‘It’s not about what you accomplish in life, but what you do for others that count’, when he thanked his sponsors for his implant. You can help make a substantial difference to restore someone’s hearing.
There are many ways of getting involved:
- signing a monthly debit order
- sponsoring an amount towards the implant of a specific person (details available on request)
- organising a fund-raising event
- helping us to create awareness about the need.