Skip to main content

Cochlear implantation in Malawi: report of the first four cases

  • W Mulwafu (a1), D R Strachan (a2), R Bartlett (a3) and C Caron (a1)
Abstract Objective:

This paper reports on the first four cochlear implant cases in Malawi.

Case reports:

Three patients were deafened from infectious diseases and one from an unknown cause. They all had post-lingual deafness. Six months after the last implant, they are all progressing well.


Despite significant practical difficulties, it has proved possible, with the right support, to carry out cochlear implantation in one of the world's poorest countries. The project has also raised awareness of deafness in Malawi and highlighted significant public health issues relating to the aetiology of deafness in developing countries.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr Wakisa Mulwafu, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Private Bag 360, Blantyre, Malawi E-mail:
Hide All
1 World Health Organization. Prevention of blindness and deafness: estimates. In: [16 May 2017]
2 Stevens, G, Flaxman, S, Brunskill, E, Mascarenhas, M, Mathers, CD, Finucane, M. Global and regional hearing impairment prevalence: an analysis of 42 studies in 29 countries. Eur J Public Health 2013;23:146–52
3 Emmett, SD, Tucci, DL, Smith, M, Macharia, IM, Ndegwa, SN, Nakku, D et al. GDP matters: cost effectiveness of cochlear implantation and deaf education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Otol Neurotol 2015;36:1357–65
4 Kerr, G, Tuomi, S, Müller, A. Costs involved in using a cochlear implant in South Africa. S Afr J Commun Disord 2012;59:1626
6 World Health Organization. WHO's work with countries: WHO Country Cooperation Strategies and Briefs. In: [25 July 2017]
7 Saunders, J, Barrs, D. Cochlear implantation in developing countries as humanitarian service: physician attitudes and recommendations for best practice. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2011;145:74–9
8 Byaruhanga, R, Roland, JT Jr, Buname, G, Kakande, E, Awubwa, M, Ndorelire, C et al. A case report: the first successful cochlear implant in Uganda. Afri Health Sci 2015;15:1342–8
9 Suleiman, AO, Suleiman, BM, Abdulmajid, UF, Suleiman, MR, Mustapha, AY, Afolabi, OA et al. Paediatric cochlear implantation in north-western Nigeria: case report and review of our challenges. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 2014;78:363–5
10 Mulwafu, W, Ensink, R, Kuper, H, Fagan, J. Survey of ENT services in sub-Saharan Africa: little progress between 2009 and 2015. Glob Health Action 2017;10:1289736
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 51 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 332 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 15th August 2017 - 17th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.