UAE government funds Dh400,000 for surgery of young girl’s ears

A girl, Michelle Grace, in UAE is now living a normal life after the country's government stepped in to pay Dh400,000 for her cochlear implants, which are electronic devices used to improve hearing.

A girl, Michelle Grace, in UAE is now living a normal life after the country’s government stepped in to pay Dh400,000 for her cochlear implants, which are electronic devices used to improve hearing.

Dominique Villafuerte, her mother, shared her story on the Twitter feed of Expo 2020 Dubai and described how the government’s donation changed their life when there was little hope left.

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She explained that before joining the Expo in 2017, they discovered their daughter was deaf and required cochlear implants.

That year was coincidentally the Year of Giving, and the ‘Help Me Hear initiative’ was being carried out under the Ministry of Health.

She stated that they were fortunate enough to be given a chance to have their daughter’s cochlear implant for her right ear free of cost upon the courtesy of the UAE Government.

But the girl was able to hear only from her right ear.

Ms Villafuerte stated that she began working for the Expo during 2018, and in one of the national day celebrations for the staff, she shared the story of her daughter with other colleagues and the Expo team.

Then in 2019, a member of the communications team remembered her story and wanted to make a quick video about it.

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She then shared the video with Dr Eman AlHouli from Sharjah’s Al Qassimi hospital, who did the first surgery, and she asked why we did not do the surgery for the left ear.

Each surgery costs about Dh200,000, so they didn’t go for the surgery on the other ear as they didn’t have much money. So, Dr Eman asked them to come and visit her in her clinic.

Dr Eman told them that the Ministry approved the other surgery of Health just because of the link that her mother shared with the doctor.

She said her daughter got her other surgery because of the Expo video.

Ms Villafuerte stated that her daughter had her second surgery during December 2019, and she has heard from both ears ever since.

Tariq Saeed

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