Duong’s mother is blind. She works in a massage center, where she meets Duong’s father. It wasn’t until the fourth month that Duong’s mother realized she was pregnant. Her child, Duong, is born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. The father visits his son only once, then he breaks off contact and disappears.
Duong is raised by his mother and grandmother. The family is very poor. In Duong’s community, the neighbors collect food and clothing for Duong. A local government employee learns about Duong’s story and helps the family research treatment options online. This is how they get in touch with our partner organization OSCA in Hanoi. There, Duong was operated for the first time, when he was only ten months old. His cleft palate was closed in a second operation in March 2021.
We share Duong’s mother’s happiness that her son now has this obstacle cleared out of his way and can look forward to a much better future ahead of him. Many other children like Duong in Vietnam and our other project countries are still waiting for the surgery they need.
The most important part of the treatment is the surgery. Performed by a skilled, qualified surgeon like our partners are, it makes children with a cleft lip look “normal” again. If there is also a cleft palate, at least one further operation is required. An untreated cleft palate has serious consequences: the children cannot eat and drink properly and speak with difficulty.