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HRH Princess Lalla Asmae Chairs Launching Ceremony of Cochlear Implant Operation in West Africa

Rabat, 17/10/2022 (MAP) – Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Asmae, President of the Lalla Asmae Foundation for hearing-impaired children, chaired, Monday at the Rabat Hospital of specialties, the launching ceremony of the cochlear implant operation in West Africa under the program « NASMAA ».

Lalla Asmae Foundation for Hearing-Impaired Children Director El Abbes Bouhlal said, in a speech, that the extension of the NASMAA national program to African countries as part of the campaign « United, we can hear each other better », fits perfectly into the Royal vision that makes South-South cooperation with African countries a strategic choice, carried by the enlightened leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, and based on a comprehensive and balanced vision of the development of the continent.

On this occasion, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae followed a presentation on the NASMAA program, delivered by the head of the program and treasurer of the Foundation, Karim Essakalli.

Emphasizing the importance of screening for deafness, Essakali stressed that the Lalla Asmae Foundation has been able to follow the Royal vision and extend the NASMAA program to a number of African countries, namely Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Niger.

About thirty deaf children from these countries have traveled to Morocco with one of their relatives, to place the cochlear implant at the University Hospital (CHU) of the Kingdom and the Military Hospital, he said.

They will also be accompanied by their ENT doctors and speech therapists to follow up once they return to their countries, he said, affirming that for the success of this project, the Foundation has worked with several partners.

These partners are namely the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Integration and Family, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation, the OCP Foundation, the National Company of Radio and Television (SNRT), the Moroccan News Agency (MAP), the Bank of Africa Foundation and the Lions Clubs International.

Her Royal Highness then followed a presentation on technological innovation for the inclusion of people with hearing impairments by the Minister of Solidarity, Social Integration and Family, Aawatif Hayar.

Hailing the commitment of HRH Princess Lalla Asmae in favor of children and young people with hearing disabilities at the national level and in Africa, Hayar was pleased to see this program acquire a continental dimension and become a framework for African cooperation.

« The ambition of the Lalla Asmae Foundation to extend the NASMAA program to a number of African countries is salutary and denotes the openness of the Kingdom towards its sons and daughters in Africa, » said Lions Clubs International-Africa Director Vincent Alexis Gomès.

Alexis Gomez took this opportunity to pay tribute to « the strong commitment » of Her Royal Highness, « Her great kindness and Her known and recognized humanism » in the social action in favor of hearing impaired children in Morocco and abroad.

The General Manager of Bank of Africa, Amine Bouabid, expressed his thanks to Her Royal Highness and to the Lalla Asmae Foundation for Hearing-Impaired Children, highlighting the important role of South-South partnership in the treatment of childhood deafness, which can change lives.

In Morocco, cochlear implantation has reached a peak since 2002 and especially with the creation by the Ministry of Health of reference centers for cochlear implantation, responsible for the care of children as soon as they are identified as deaf, said the representative of the medical team in charge of operations at the University Hospital of Rabat, Leila Essakalli.

Given the success of the NASMAA campaign in Morocco, the Lalla Asmae Foundation wishes to make hearing-impaired children from Africa benefit from this operation, noted Essakalli, stressing that all teachers-researchers in ENT at the level of national centers of reference for cochlear implantation are committed to the success of this program both in the Kingdom and in Africa.

« In Africa, the project is promising, since the main objective is the transfer of Moroccan ENT expertise in the field of hearing rehabilitation by cochlear implantation », she assured.

In this context, the Lalla Asmae Foundation for Hearing-Impaired Children signed three partnership agreements, the first one is related to the protocol of the financial support of NASMAA, with the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Integration and Family and the OCP Foundation.

Signed with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Integration and the Family, the second agreement concerns the training of justice personnel in sign language.

The third convention relating to the integration of young laureates of the Lalla Asmae Foundation for deaf children was signed with the Ministry of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills and the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills (ANAPEC).

Thereafter, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae visited the children from Senegal and Gabon who are beneficiaries of the « NASMAA » program, at the recovery room.

Upon her arrival, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae reviewed a section of the Auxiliary Forces that was performing the honors, before being welcomed by the Minister of Justice, Abdellatif Ouahbi, the Minister of National Education, Preschool and Sports, Chakib Benmoussa, the Minister of Health and Social Protection, Khalid Ait Taleb, the Minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, Younes Sekkouri, and the Minister of Solidarity, Social Integration and Family, Aawatif Hayar.

Her Royal Highness was also welcomed by the ambassadors and business leaders of the beneficiary African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Gabon, Senegal, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso), the Wali of Rabat-Salé-Kenitra, Mohamed Yacoubi, the President of the Regional Council, Rachid El Abdi, the Wali in charge of the national coordination of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), Mohammed Dardouri, and other officials.

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