Six hospitals in Beijing and Shanghai municipalities have been asked to help implant artificial cochlea for 16,000 deaf children living in economically backward Hainan, Guizhou and Qinghai provinces and Tibet and Ningxia autonomous regions.

The requests are part of a national program co-sponsored by the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the China Disabled Persons' Federation, which is aiming to cure 16,865 deaf people from 26 provinces, municipalities and ethnic autonomous regions.
The central government will provide the whole two billion yuan (322 million U.S. dollars) needed for the medical project, to cover the operation cost and training for the children afterward.
In a related development, Xinhua learned at an ongoing international conference on prevention of deafness that 400,000 deaf kids in China have so far had their hearing problems cured or eased by implanting artificial cochlea or wearing hearing aids.
Currently, China has 27.8 million people with hearing difficulties, while the global figure stands at 360 million, according to the WHO conference being held in Beijing. The WHO predicted an increasing number of people will acquire hearing difficulties of various kinds, due to the world's ageing population.
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