The need for help for cleft children in Pakistan is great. Among every 500 births one child is born with cleft lip and palate. With more than five million births in 2019, that’s around 9,000 new cleft babies per year. Only about half of the children receive surgery. There are some plastic surgeons in Pakistan, but only a few of them operate cleft lip and palate. Most lack the know-how. In addition, the treatment of a child from a poor background is not very lucrative. The children then often are not accepted at the public hospitals.
Our project in Pakistan is based in Karachi, the capital of the province of Sindh. With its approximately 20 million inhabitants, Karachi is one of the largest cities in the world. Sindh province is located in southern Pakistan, bordering India and the Arabian Sea. Outside the metropolis of Karachi, life is rural. The rural population is very poor. We get out the word about our help for cleft children with awareness-raising campaigns and announce the regular surgery missions in Karachi and various provincial hospitals in the surrounding area.
In 2021 we were able to help Pakistani cleft children with 1.003 operations despite the necessity of Covid-19 safety precautions. This was and is urgently needed. Organizations whose help relies on visits by foreign teams had to reduce or even cease their activities due to travel restrictions. Thanks to our fully Pakistan-based medical team, we were able to continue and even expand our offer of aid. At the end of 2020, we started a BMZ-funded project to set up an interdisciplinary cleft center. The goal is the comprehensive treatment of cleft children by providing speech therapy, ENT medicine, orthodontics and psychosocial care to them.