OdishaPlus Bureau

cleft - mission smile

Operation Smile Inc., an international medical charity, in collaboration with Bengaluru’s Inga Health Foundation and the SOA Deemed to be University, is undertaking a week-long mission in Odisha to surgically correct cleft lip and cleft palate in children free of cost at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here from Tuesday.

A team of international cleft surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other medical volunteers drawn from eleven countries including USA, UK, Sweden, Finland, Philippines and India will collaborate for conduct of the surgeries to correct the birth defect found in children. Cleft lip and cleft palate result when facial structures developing in an unborn baby don’t close completely.

Prof. (Dr.) Sobhan Mishra, Head of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Institute of Dental Sciences (IDS), SOA’s faculty of dental sciences, will be the Team Leader (Cleft Surgery) of the Operation Smile contingent which also comprises Dr. Lora Mae De Guzman, Plastic Surgeon from Philippines, Dr. Jonas Awuku Afari, Anesthesiologist from Ghana and Ms. Michelle Williams, in charge of cleft nursing care.

“There has been an overwhelming response from parents of children with the deformity who wanted their kids to undergo the correctional surgery. Medical evaluation of the children had been conducted over the past two days, but it had been decided to undertake surgical correction on around 150 children,” Prof. (Dr) Neeta Mohanty, Dean of IDS, told newspersons on Monday.

“The surgeries will be conducted free of cost from August 27 to September 1 and hospitality to the children and their escorts would be provided,” she said.

Besides Prof. (Dr.) Mohanty, the Medical Superintendent of IMS and SUM Hospital, Dr. Pushparaj Samantasinhar, Team Leader Prof. (Dr.) Mishra and Executive Director of Operation Smile Inc. in India, Mr. Abhishek Sengupta were present at the news conference.

The team members, numbering about 70, were felicitated at the IDS on Monday by the SOA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Amit Banerjee who praised the efforts of Operation Smile Inc. saying it had laid down global standards for conducting the surgical correction on children. “We are proud that we have been found to have met the global standards of care and the best practices followed by Operation Smile organization,” he said.

“Operation Smile volunteers had treated over 22,000 children with cleft lip and cleft palate in 24 Indian cities till now,” Prof. Banerjee said adding the health care institutions under SOA had joined hands with Operation Smile Inc. to make the venture a success.

Prof. (Dr.) Mohanty said all arrangements had been completed for the week-long ‘Future of Smiles Mission’ program. “The way the Operation Smile team has converged from all parts of the globe makes it clear that the world is one big family,” she said.

Operation Smile Inc., established in 1982, began its work in Philippines and is now active in 45 countries catering to the needs of children with cleft lips and cleft palates but without any access to medical help, Mr. Abhishek Sengupta, Executive Director of Operation Smile Inc. for India, said.

The organization entered into a collaboration with Inga Health Foundation, Bengaluru, subsequently to increase the capacity to treat the huge backlog of children in India suffering from such birth defects, he said while thanking SOA for providing all facilities to conduct the mission.

“We are thankful to IMS and SUM Hospital authorities for allowing us to conduct the surgeries by making available the operation theatres for six days and helping with other logistics,” Mr. Sengupta said.