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All cleft lip operations free soon

Good news for cleft lip children in India. They will now not only be operated upon free of charge but also offered treatment for associated problems such as speech problem or oral and dental surgery.

india Updated: Aug 19, 2010 12:31 IST
Gaurav Saigal

Good news for cleft lip children in India. They will now not only be operated upon free of charge but also offered treatment for associated problems such as speech problem or oral and dental surgery.

In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Mamta Carole manager (programme) The Smile Train's said, "Having provided cleft lip and palate for past several years with an excellent response now we will expand the service towards complete rehabilitation of the child."

A child with cleft lip and palate has a wide gap in the lips and gums near the nose. This is by birth. Hence the child neither is able to suck milk nor can speak rightly. The deformity is corrected with the help of a 45-min operation but often the operated children are left with tooth or speech deformity.

Thus for correcting tooth deformity the child needs children's' dentist (paedodontist) and to get the speech corrected the parents have to look for a speech therapists. Both these specialists are not available at all places, specially the rural areas from where majority cleft lip patients come.

"Our team of plastic surgeons spread across 250 hospitals in India are doing best job. Now we will add oral and maxillofacial surgeons and speech therapists to support the efforts towards complete rehabilitation. These facilities will also be free for the children," said Mamta, who was in Lucknow to inspect the centres here.

The process to attach oral and maxillofacial surgerons and speech therapists with the existing network of Smile Train centre has begun and some of the centers will start the extended facility from September. By October end almost all centers will start the facility.