The Cleft Lip and Palate Centre in Gujarat Pakistan has been voted a ‘Global Leader’ in Cleft surgery by Smile Train International
The dental unit that supports pre and post cleft operations and also a speech therapy unit – the smile says it all.
Approximately 1 in 500 children in Pakistan are born with a defect of the lip and palate (the roof of the mouth). This is called a cleft lip and palate abnormality, as seen in the pictures. Babies and children are unable to feed or speak properly. They have a lot of infections in the mouth and ears, often leading to hearing difficulties. Schooling is often impossible and such children are made outcasts, with very little prospects of marriage.
In 1995 the Pakistan Cleft Lip and Palate Association was formed and since then with the help of plastic surgeons, travelling form places such as the UK, over 3000 children have been operated. The water services for the hospital were donated by Prof Gatrad as a memory to his parents.
For over 10 years the Trust has fully supported over 2000 operations on children at a cost of £150 each. Surgeons who travel form the UK to Pakistan have given their time free and do not even charge for travel and accommodation. Our main surgeons are. Mr Nick Hart, Dr M Riaz, Dr Zahid Rafiq (anaesthetist) and Annette Middleton (Senior Theatre Sister). In 2014 Smile Train joined us officially and the center has been voted a ‘Global Leader’ in cleft surgery.
We have 2 camps every year lasting a week each and children from all over Pakistan travel to PCLAPA (Pakistan Cleft lip and Palate) headquarters. After birth of such a child, parents register him/her with PCLAPA who contact Dr Ijaz Bashir who coordinates the timing of the operations. Approximately 10 children are operated daily by each surgeon. There is an infrastructure for speech therapy and audiology. Other deformities for example from burns and accidents are also dealt with if surgeons feel this is feasible.
The Japanese government offered R8,900,000 (approx. £69000) to help with the cleft building. This was hopelessly inadequate and MIAT has topped up to ensure that the new centre has state of the art facilities for theatre and outpatients. The cleft centre has been functional since 2012. Above this centre is built the Jubaida Gatrad and Maternity Hospital. MIAT has invested over £3/4m in this project.
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