GPHC, Smile Train, to complete 12 cleft lip, palate surgeries by weekend

―5 successful operations completed to date

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, September 11, 2019

An International Charitable Organisation, Smile Train, has joined with the Georgetown Public Hospital Cooperation (GPHC) and will be facilitating several cleft lip and palate surgeries at the medical institution.

Dr. Shilindra Rajkumar, a Plastic Surgeon attached to the GPHC disclosed that the 6-member team intends to complete at least twelve operations on children over the weekend. Five patients have already benefitted from the surgical outreach.

Medical team along with patients and their parents. (from left: Director of Medial and Professional Services GPHC, Dr. Faucett Jeffrey, Anesthesiologist Dr. Richard Raker, Melissa France and her daughter Kiera, little Zhavia Williams in the arms of her grandmother, Director for Smile (south America) Mariane Goes and plastic surgeon Dr. Shilindra Rajkumar)

The medical practitioner was at the time speaking at a media conference on September 10. He said the hospital is grateful to witness another effort made by international counterparts to boost the level of medical services offered to Guyanese. He said this evening the team will meet with members of the Rotary club and both entities are expected to partner to identify children throughout Guyana who need urgent relief from the condition.

In the last 20 years, Smile Train has completed some 9000 surgeries yearly. The team accompanying the district director to Guyana includes a plastic surgeon, an anesthesiologist and three nurses.

Mariane Goes, South America Director for the mission, highlighted that Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable issue: cleft lip and palate. The organisation, she noted, has dedicated its time battling to solve the problem, explaining that the surgery is the first step after which the process continues by using treatment.

According to Goes, the team is not only tasked with conducting surgeries but has invested time and effort in training local medical staff members. “We have trained ten nurses, two anesthesiologists and one plastic surgeon and that’s the first step,” the group leader underscored and added that training is also planned for audiologists and speech pathologists.

The final goal for the mission is to give every child with a cleft the opportunity for a healthy, productive life.

Meanwhile, little Kiera France was one of the patients who received assistance on Monday from the visiting medical personnel. Kiera’s mother, Melissa France told the media that prior to the surgery her daughter was having difficulty chewing and drinking. She, like the other satisfied parents, is now relieved that her little one no longer has that struggle and can now smile.

Cleft lip and cleft palate are openings or splits in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth (palate) or both. Cleft lip and cleft palate result when facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby do not close completely.


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