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A team of medical specialists from a multi-national charity, Operation Smile, are providing free examinations and surgery in Rangoon, for children born with cleft lips and palates.
Thirty-eight international medical professionals have volunteered for the Burma mission and surgeries will be performed at Rangoon General Hospital from 5-10 May.
“We are evaluating the children to determine whether they need the surgery,” said mission co-sponsor Win Win Thant. “The health workers are now checking data and will announce the names of those qualified for the procedure in the evening, before starting treatment tomorrow [Tuesday].”
Operation Smile is an initiative of voluntary medical workers who provide treatment for children born with facial deformities.
In 2013, Operation Smile teams performed 21,474 free surgeries for children worldwide. The initiative also trains local health workers to be able to perform the surgeries when the Operation Smile specialists leave town.
This is the fourth year Operation Smile has come to Burma, and each year their medical volunteers have treated 150 children.
Cleft lips are extremely common, with approximately one in 600 babies being born with the congenital defect in the developing world. The operation is fairly simple but many poorer families cannot afford it.
“As day labourers with financial difficulties, we are grateful for this opportunity. In fact, we are delighted,” said a mother from Ngathinechaung, Irrawaddy Division.
On Tuesday, 30 children who qualify in a check-up will receive surgery at Rangoon General Hospital’s Plastic Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery Department, to correct their cleft lips.
Operation Smile’s treatment will continue until Saturday.