One thing less to worry about
One in every 500 children worldwide is born with an orofacial cleft. In Southeast Asia, however, about one in every 350 children is born with this facial malformation. Moreover, severe and complex oral maxillofacial defects, which require more extensive surgery, are also far more common in this region.
On February 23rd, 2018, a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and surgical nurses from the organization “Doctors of the World” traveled to Cambodia to support colleagues from the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and the local non-governmental organization “Smile Cambodia”. In their luggage was a VIO unit with all the accessories required to carry out operations on particularly severely affected children.
During their 14-day visit they were able to treat a total of 39 children. What most moved us during the trip was the story of a six-month-old boy who was brought in for examination by his grandparents at the beginning of March. His family lives in a simple hut made of palm leaves around three hours by bus from Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh. The father had left the family a short time after the birth of the child, and the family barely scrapes by on the low wages which the baby’s mother earns working in a clothing factory. She has had to take out a loan, of which she pays back 200 dollars every month.
From a television program, the woman learned that a team from “Doctors of the World” would be in Phnom Penh at the beginning of March. She had already heard many good reports about the doctors and that the operation, including the trip to the clinic and any follow-up care, would be free of charge. Because the mother was not given any time off from work in the factory, it was the grandparents who took their grandson to the clinic for examination. They were lucky: the boy was selected for surgery.
After the successful procedure and just one night in hospital, the grandparents were able to take the baby home to its mother with a surgically closed cleft lip and palate. The family will at least have one less thing to worry about as they watch over their child’s health. We are pleased and proud that we are able to support this amazing aid program.