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Express Buzz
05 May, 2010
Chennai, India

Shabana Azmi (9) is set to enter the world of sound. The girl from Cuddalore underwent the first cochlear transplant under the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme for life–saving treatment at the Government General Hospital here last week. The cost of the procedure plus equipment cost: Rs 5 lakh.

Dr Balakumar, who performed the surgery, said she would undergo a rehabilitative speech therapy at the hospital. She is the first patient to receive the implant free of cost at a government hospital in the State.

While the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme contributed Rs 1 lakh, the rest of the expenses were borne by Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC).

Shabana was born deaf and hailed from a poor rural family, which could not afford the expensive implant.

TIIC chairperson Sheela Rani Chunkath said funds would now automatically flow to the hospital, as the doctors had demonstrated their expertise in performing the surgery.

Meanwhile, Prakasham, managing director, Star Insurance, said the company would offer Rs 1 lakh for such surgeries at any hospital in the State if they fulfilled certain criteria.

Meanwhile, Health Minister MRK Pannerselvam said medical colleges in Thiruvarur and Villupuram would definitely come up. The second inspection by the Medical Council of India was underway.

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