Cleft lip and palate are devastating birth defects in which the lip and/or palate do not fuse in the midline, creating a visible gap that affects appearance and also hinders swallowing and speech. Surgical correction provides drastic improvement to the child's appearance, quality of life, and social acceptance.
At the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Global Health, we have formed a collaboration with hospitals in India. In January 2018, a team of 12 nurses, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, and surgeons will travel to Mumbai and Jaipur for 2 weeks to operate on underserved children with untreated cleft lip and palate deformities.
India carries a high population rate of cleft lip and palate deformities, but there are limited resources outside of metropolitan areas. With the assistance of Indian social service grass roots organizations, untreated children from villages and underserved areas are informed, recruited, and transported for surgical treatment at no cost.
During our trip we will treat approximately 100 children for cleft lip and palate surgery. These will be primarily children who would not be able to readily obtain these surgical services, as our target population is rural and underserved children. We aim to provide continued yearly visits and longitudinal care at these sites.
In January 2018, our team of medical experts from across the US traveled to Jaipur and Mumbai, India. This was an amazing experience where we were able to perform numerous charity surgeries on children with cleft lip, cleft palate, facial deformities, and facial trauma over the course of 10 days. We partnered with local social and charity organizations to perform outreach to rural areas surrounding the cities we visited. Children from these areas do not have ready access to care. Patients and their parents were reached and provided transportation and lodging so they may be able to travel to the city where our surgical camp was in session. Without our presence and outreach, these children may not have been able to obtain any care or surgery. Overall, our impact in the communities was powerful – 1) we created important and lasting alliances with hospitals and social organizations and 2) we provided care to numerous children who may not have had access to any care. We deeply appreciate the support that the Dox Foundation was able to provide so that we may be able to carry out our mission of surgical charity.