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.
We have been working to help cleft children in Pakistan since 2013. After a few years of preparations, we were able to make a big step forward in 2016 through a cooperation with Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Ganatra and the Al-Mustafa Welfare Society. The Al-Mustafa Welfare Society is one of the most renowned non-profit organizations in Pakistan. Since 1983, the society has been providing low-income people with access to health care and education. The non-profit organization runs schools and various medical facilities. One of them is the Al-Mustafa Medical Center in Karachi.
In 2007, the organization initiated a cleft aid program under the direction of plastic surgeon Professor Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Ganatra. Professor Ganatra has extensive experience in treating children with cleft lip and palate. Prof. Ganatra operates up to 100 patients a month in and around Karachi. Dr. Ulrike Lamlé oversees our project on a voluntary basis.
Since the beginning of the project in 2013, we have been able to help more than 5,000 cleft children in Pakistan with free operations. Many more are still waiting for help. Please support our work to bring them the help they need with your donation.
It was not until 1947 that Pakistan was separated from India. The aim was to found an independent state for the Muslim Indians. A new state was created with the four provinces Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as well as the capital territory of Islamabad. Pakistan also controls the Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir areas on the Pakistani-administered side of Kashmir. This situation still leads to conflicts between India and Pakistan.
Even though the security situation in Pakistan has improved in recent years, the threat of political or religious extremism remains a problem. Religious minorities in the country, particularly Christians and Hindus, are particularly affected.