Our work in Bangladesh began over ten years ago. The project grew steadily from around 300 operations per year initially. In 2018, we were able to grow our ability to help in Bangladesh by expanding our surgical team and doubled the number of operations performed in Bangladesh from 761 in 2018 to 1,870 in 2019.
In Bangladesh, rural people are often very afraid to entrust their children to doctors and to go to the city for medical treatment. To reach this rural population, our surgeons regularly organize surgeries outside of their fixed locations, in small provincial hospitals. To help these children, it is also important to win the parents’ trust and convince them of the need for treatment. Awareness work is therefore a crucial part of our work in Bangladesh.
Currently, there are only few doctors in Bangladesh who are specialized to treat children with cleft lip and palate. At the beginning of 2020, we initiated a program to provide specialized training to two more Bangladeshi surgeons, to help more cleft children in Bangladesh get the operation they need. With the training of young surgeons, we ensure the long-term continuation of our local aid in the long term.
Over the next few years, we want to use our partner network to develop a comprehensive treatment concept beyond the basic operations. We hope to soon be able to give the cleft patients in Bangladesh access to many important follow-up therapies to help them live even better lives.