Enhanced State-Funded Services for Children with Hearing Impairments
The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara included rehabilitation services for children with hearing impairments (those with ear implants) in its 2019 program. This issue was advocated by EWMI ACCESS grantee Step Forward for almost a year. Before that, the government programs covered the costs of initial screening, surgical treatment, and ear implants, but did not offer any kind of follow-up rehabilitation.
In order to assess efficiency of the short-term rehabilitation program (before offering it to the regional government), Step Forward organized a pilot summer camp for 10 children, where they went through an intensive rehabilitation course with speech and hearing therapists.
Based on the successful results of this course, Step Forward drafted actionable policy recommendations and offered the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of Ajara a realistic funding scheme for introducing these services.
Thanks to the joint efforts of Step Forward, backed with the parents of children with hearing impairments, the Ministry considered the recommendations and included the rehabilitation program in its 2019 program and draft budget.