Mohsin from Pakistan

Some 17,000 children are born in Pakistan every day. As a rough rule of thumb, one in 500-600 children is born with a cleft lip and palate. That’s around 31 every day in Pakistan. Without qualified medical help, they will not be able to live their lives without severe problems in everyday life. One of them is our patient Mohsin from the province of Sindh in south-eastern Pakistan, on the border with India.

The family is relieved that Mohsin can get the treatment he needs.

Sindh is a land of contrasts: the metropolis of Karachi and important seaports and industries are located here. At the same time, large parts of the province live from agriculture, producing fruit and vegetables. 55 million people live here in an area twice the size of Bavaria.

Mohsin was born with a cleft lip and palate. Two of his five siblings were also born with a cleft. Mohsin’s mother therefore knows that her son needs an operation. But his father is a laborer and cannot afford paying for the operation.

The family finds another organization to provide the operation for Mohsin’s lip. But his untreated cleft palate continues to cause him problems when eating and drinking. He will also not be able to learn to speak clearly with an open palate. So the family searches for a qualified surgeon who can perform this operation and finds their way to our Pakistani team led by Prof. Ashraf Ganatra, which is based in Karachi.

Risk factor marriage to relatives

Mother and son are accompanied to the hospital by Moshin’s mother’s brother-in-law. The brother-in-law has eight children. And three of them also have a cleft deformity. Our Pakistani team learns that in both cases, the marriage took place within the family. Weddings like these are no exception here. Rather, traditions such as intra-family marriages shape society. Nowhere else in the world is marriage between relatives as deeply rooted as in Pakistan. The consequences are fatal: the number of children with genetic defects, such as cleft lip and palate, is significantly higher.

Before the operation, Mohsin is examined to make sure that he is healthy enough to safely undergo surgery. Mohsin’s blood values are good, so our Pakistani team prepares everything for the operation. It takes just under an hour for surgeon Dr. Mukesh to close Mohsin’s cleft palate. After the successful operation, Mohsin’s mother watches over her son’s bed and smiles.

At less than a year old, Mohsin has both the operations he needed behind him – a huge step forward for his future prospects and a great relief for his mom.

Pakistani surgeon Dr. Mukesh (right), part of the team of our Pakistani partner organization. Pictured here with our German volunteer surgeon Dr. Ulrike Lamlé.

We are delighted that we were able to help Mohsin and his family – thanks to our donors! Help us with your donation to give children like Mohsin a better life.