Saturday July 20, 2024

Nidda will soon be hearing, talking!

By Mobarik A Virk
February 25, 2017


At times one finds lady luck smiling down out of the blues. And it did cast a big smile for this cute six-year-old Nidda Khan, who was born deaf and dumb. Her parents accepted the deficiency or impairment as fate.

And then one day her fate turned around. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Mariam Nawaz, visited a school as part of a campaign to hand over special buses for school children.

During the function, young Nida, oblivious of what exactly was going all round her but enjoying watching the colourful event, caught attention of the prime minister who asked her to be brought to him.

Both, the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Mariam Nawaz tried to communicate with Nida but she remained irresponsive. For obvious reason that she couldn’t hear or talk! It dawned on the Prime Minister and Mariam Nawaz later that she was a special child.

The prime minister and his daughter were moved. They asked for a big, mounted and framed picture of young Nida Khan to be displayed in the Prime Minister’s House.

Then the prime minister directed to treat Nida’s disability. He was told that she would need to undergo ‘Cochlear Implant’ surgery. The procedure is very expensive and is offered in the private sector in Pakistan at a horrendous cost.

But then it turned out to be that in the public sector, the Capital Hospital of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has the capability and offers the same treatment at almost half the cost. But that still was as high as around Rs2.5 million!

It was found out that the 2-year-old Yansar Khan from Swabi and the 4-year-old Abdul Wahaj from Rawalakot, Azad Jammu & Kashmir were already treated in the March of 2016 by a team of doctors including Dr Ghulam Saqlain, the Head of Department, ENT, Dr Jawad Ahmad and Dr Arshad Ali Anesthetist. They were joined by Dr Iqbal A. Khan and Dr Irfan (Audiologist) from the Royal ENT Hospital Bradford, England. Both procedures were successful!

So, a special medical board was constituted on the directions of the Prime Minister’s office, headed by Dr Jawad Ahmad of the Capital Hospital to perform the procedure on Ms Nida. They made the assessments and submitted the cost of the procedure to the Prime Minister’s office. The funds were made available.

We don’t know whether the funds were allocated from Mian Nawaz Sharif’s or Ms Mariam Nawaz’s personal accounts or from the public money. But the funds were released. The Prime Minister’s office remained directly in touch with the team of doctors of the Capital Hospital.

The good thing is that the procedure or surgery was performed on Thursday and now Nida is nicely recovering at the Capital Hospital. The implant has been checked and switched off for now. It will be switched on after, probably, four weeks after she has healed completely from surgery. And then she will start hearing like normal children and soon will start talking too!

It was indeed very benevolent on part of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Mariam Nawaz. We truly appreciate this great gesture. But, we have been told that at least 2, or may be 1, out of 1,000 children born in Pakistan are suffering from similar impairment.

So, there must be thousands, if not hundreds of thousand, more such children, or grownups, suffering from the same disability all over the country. How many of them will be able to catch the attention of the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif or his daughter, Mariam Nawaz to get treated?