Cleft surgeries in Huánuco, Peru

Peru is one of the oldest of our projects for the treatment of cleft lip and palate around the world. We have been active in the South American country since 2006. In that time, we have been able to provide nearly 5,000 surgeries for cleft patients in need, giving thousands of children and their families a better life.

These surgeries are performed by our local Peruvian partners. One of these partners is the Qorito organization under team leader and head surgeon Dr. Alberto Bardales. The organization is based in the Peruvian capital Lima. From their home base in the capital, Dr. Bardales and his Qorito team travel to the more remote regions of the large country to provide care for cleft patients there as well. During these missions, they are hosted by regional hospitals.

Our partners maintain a far-reaching network of contacts through which these regular aid missions are communicated. Project staff maintain contact with the affected families in order to arrange appointments for the equally important follow-up treatments after the surgery.

The Qorito team. From left: Ana Burga (nurse), surgeon Dr. Ivette Calderon, anesthetist Dr. Jesus Canales, surgeon and team leader Dr. Alberto Bardales, surgeon Dr. José Vergara, nurse anesthetist Fausto Alor. Far right: Nurse Yeni Sotelo.

25 patients in a single weekend

In August, the Qorito team traveled to the central Peruvian Andean town of Huánuco. Patients came from far-flung villages in the Huánuco region, but also from all over Peru seeking treatment. In Peru, many patients continue to await help. Due to the size of the country and the poor transport infrastructure in rural areas, it is a challenge to reach all those affected. This time, 25 patients received surgery in just three days.

A surgery takes about an hour. That means long working days for Dr. Bardales, his colleague Dr. Ivette Calderon and the rest of the team. But the Qorito team is experienced and well coordinated. During the surgeries, Dr. José Vergara also receives cleft surgery training from Dr. Bardales. José is a young plastic surgeon who has the best possible mentor to become a cleft specialist in the highly experienced Dr. Bardales. Upon completion of his specialist training, he will be a valuable addition to our team in Peru.

During this mission, Dr. Bardales operated a particularly large number of cleft palates. He explains: “Palate surgery is quite complex for most surgeons. This is where one of our strengths lies.” Dr. Bardales’ surgical results for this challenging type of surgery, which is very important for the child’s development, are excellent. With their cleft palates expertly closed, the children can finally eat, drink and learn to speak normally: a huge step forward for them and for their families.

We thank Dr. Bardales and his entire team for their many years of passionate work to help the cleft children of Peru!

We owe our gratitude to our many donors, who make the team’s work and the vital aid it provides to patients possible day after day.