The Sunday Star Times has published a very good article on a family accessing their Kiwisaver funds to give their daughter Lucy a second ear.
The article is based on a recent post on this website called Kiwisaver Withdrawal.
The use of Kiwisaver funds is a really good option for adults to avoid the large waiting list that currently exists. It is also a good interim measure for families to ensure their children get two ears to hear. However, it is not the solution to the issue of the government underfunding Cochlear Implant provision for children.
Peter McKenzie-Bridle points out in the article, that as children hit school it becomes more and more difficult for them to keep up with their peers when they have only one Cochlear Implant. While some children with one Cochlear Implant do very well at school, they (and their families) have to work ridiculously hard to even keep up. With two ears they have a chance of being like any other child at school.
Two ears are now recognised internationally as the most appropriate treatment for children with profound hearing loss. New Zealand needs to catch up.
We have proposed a first step for the government to take. It will cost the government an absolute maximum of $3.1m per year. This will give all newly diagnosed children ‘real hearing’ through two ears.
We join with Lance Cairns when he recently wrote “I hope that, in the near future, two implants will be funded for our youngsters. Parents shouldn’t have the added stress of trying to raise funds for a second implant.”.