We started our project to help cleft children in Bolivia in 2010, with plastic surgeon Dr. Mario Villalba starting to perform cleft surgeries. Dr. Villalba has many years of experience in cleft surgery. At the Esculapio Clinic for Plastic Surgery in Tarija, he treats needy cleft lip and palate patients who come from across Bolivia to access our free help. In addition, he regularly performs missions outside of Tarija. For example in Trinidad in the Amazon lowlands, or in Cochabamba, a city in the central highlands.
In 2015 we expanded our team with Dr. Adolfo Mamani. The pediatric surgeon was trained in cleft surgery by our Peruvian partner Dr. Alberto Bardales. With his organization Jiwaqui Bolivia, Dr. Mamani treats Bolivian cleft lip and palate patients in La Paz and also operates in Oruro, Potosí, Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando. As an advocate of comprehensive cleft therapy, he has built up an interdisciplinary team in recent years and offers speech therapy, orthodontics and psychological care to his patients. He plans to expand this treatment concept by setting up a cleft center in La Paz.
Expansion of our work for cleft lip and palate patients in Bolivia
In May 2020, Ayninakuna, an experienced new partner, was added to our network. The distinguished surgeon Dr. Roberto Edmundo Rosa Ressini built a cleft treatment center at the Aranjuez Clinic in Cochabamba under the umbrella of the “Fundacion para la Salud Ayninakuna” foundation. After his death in 2018, a surgeon he trained, Dr. Eligio Rolanda Acienega Llano, took over as the head of the project. He and his team operate 12 cleft children per month. In addition to offering all relevant surgical interventions, the center also provides comprehensive, long-term care for children and their parents. As a preoperative measure, NAM (Nasoalvolear Molding) is used in Cochabamba. The agreement with Ayninakuna starts with funding for 100 operations, with more to come.