Brian Johnson, DO
Brian Johnson, DO
Anesthesiology · Grand Junction, CO

SMILE Bangladesh

November 11th
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Project Description

As a board-certified pediatric anesthesiologist, I will be providing anesthesia care for children undergoing cleft lip and cleft palate repairs in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I will be working with 3 oromaxillofacial surgeons traveling from the United States.
Bengali children born with a cleft lip and/or palate are often unable to access or afford care to repair these congenital defects. They and their mothers face ostracism from their communities.

Population Served

Children from all over Bangladesh will be selected to undergo repair of their cleft lips or palates. This relatively simple, one hour operation can be life changing, both from a functional standpoint as well as a social standpoint.
Most of these children are unable to access the necessary care from Bengali surgeons, both due to a lack of money and to a lack of trained surgeons. It is estimated that there are 300,000 children and adults in Bangladesh with unrepaired cleft lips and/or palates. There are less than 30 surgeons in Bangladesh with formal training in cleft lip and palate repair.

Expected Impact

We expect to perform 50-60 cleft lip and/or palate repairs during our week in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The operation will have numerable positive impacts on the children's lives, both from a functional and a social standpoint.
The experience gained in Bangladesh will translate to providing improved care in my home community in Colorado, as well as for future medical missions in other parts of the world with a need for cleft lip and palate repairs.

Trip Photos & Recap

As mentioned previously, throughout Bangladesh there are approximately 300,000 people with facial cleft deformities. There are only about 30 properly trained surgeons in the country able to perform cleft lip and palate repairs.

SMILE Bangladesh is a New Jersey-based non-profit organization that travels twice yearly to Bangladesh, both to Dhaka and to other urban and rural areas to provide cleft lip and palate repairs free of charge.
During this week with SMILE Bangladesh, my first mission with the organization, we were able to repair or revise 42 cleft lips and/or palates, thereby immeasurably improving their futures.

I would like to thank the amazing surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, anesthesia techs, and administrators of SMILE Bangladesh for their dedication to the people of Bangladesh. I would also like to thank the Dox Foundation for funding my travel expenses, therefore making my participation possible.