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DCKH representatives visit cleft treatment centers in India

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Day 1 and 2 of our 11-day project trip in early 2020: we, Andrea Weiberg and Ulrike Claassens from the Freiburg team, are in Mysore. Our cleft center in Joseph’s Hospital offers needy cleft patients comprehensive treatment: surgery, dentistry, orthodontics, speech therapy, ENT and psychology – all relevant specialist disciplines are under one roof and work hand in hand. We meet Father Manuel and Father Sanjay, who run the clinic. And witness Dr. Manu Prasad and his team perform an operation. In just under two hours, Dr. Manu reconstructs the palate of eight year old Kumar. We are impressed by the professionalism, the reassuring calm and warmth with which the little patients are cared for. And the warm hospitality with which we were received. A big thank you to the whole Mysore team.

Second stop in Hyderabad

Our second stop: Hyderabad. DCKH is present with no fewer than three partner hospitals in the capital of the state of Telangana with its almost 8 million inhabitants. Dr. Vijay operates around 20 cleft children per month in his hospital, with a lot of love and great experience. Speech therapy and preoperative NAM are further components of his comprehensive treatment concept. We get to know Rohinth, who had been operated on the palate two days earlier. His mother is so grateful! Ramdevrao Hospital, a large non-profit organization, has been a new partner for two years now. And the young, motivated surgeon Dr. Neeti is a brand new member of our medical team, who wants to build a new contact point for cleft children in the Avis Hospital. Three very different institutions that all have one thing in common: The goal of giving cleft children a chance in life.

Shree Jain Hospital in Haora

Dr. Siddhartha heads the cleft center at our partner hospital, the Shree Jain Hospital and Research Center, in Haora. The metropolis is part of the Kolkata metropolitan area. Dr. Siddhartha operates some 30 patients every month! Today he has organized a tour of Haora for us to meet three of his little patients. Tashfia was operated only the day before yesterday. She lives with her parents in Assam, in northern India. 600 kilometers away, a two-day trip by train. Tashfia’s mother, with whom we can communicate in English, says that they became aware of our aid project via a Facebook group. She is overjoyed that her daughter’s first operation went without any trouble. For her and her husband it is no question that they will be on their way again later this year to also have Tashfia’s cleft palate treated by Dr. Siddhartha. Next, we visit Seikh in his home. He lives with his 4 sisters and his parents in a room without daylight, on 10 square meters. They make room for us on the family bed. And here, too, we experience great gratitude again. Thank you Dr. Siddhartha for this very special day!

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Kolkata: 400 operations a year!

Kolkata, day 2: Once again we have the opportunity to attend two operations. Dr. Siddhartha is assisted by Dr. Debolina and Dr. Vivek, Dr. Nishad is the responsible anesthetist. New patients are already waiting. Over the last two years, Kolkata has grown into our largest treatment center in India, with approximately 400 operations a year. The expansion of the range of therapies is the subject of the subsequent meeting, chaired by Dr. Jayanth, medical supervisor for all of our Indian project locations. We are happy about this young, dynamic collaboration with Shree Jain Hospital and Dr. Siddhartha, thanks to which we can give so many cleft children access to comprehensive care and thus give them a real chance of a better life.

Last stop is Bangalore

Bangalore, the last stop on our trip. Dr. Jayanth shows us the Rangadore Memorial Hospital, where he leads our cleft project. Bangalore is also the seat of our partner association ABMSS. The team includes Dr. Dushyant Prasad (General Secretary), Dr. Jayanth BS (Director-Programs & Medical Supervisor), Mithun Amin (Manager-Programs and Operations), Muyeen Pasha (Senior Executive-Operations), Prashanth G (Executive Accounts) and Annie Jayaraj (Fundraising). We get a glimpse into our colleagues’ work – a valuable experience for both sides. A journey full of impressions is now coming to an end: we were in the operating room, visited patients at home, met the many helpers, we got to know India from a very special perspective and experienced the challenges on site. And we were highly impressed by the professionalism and commitment with which these challenges are met. Thanks to everyone for this wonderful time!

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From our projects
The story of Maui, cleft child from Colombia
Our new project to help children with cleft lip and palate in Colombia begins with a very unusual case. Maui was born with a cleft lip and palate. His parents belong to an indigenous people and do not know how to get him the help he needs. By a happy coincidence, Julia, a Swiss woman living in Colombia, is a neighbor of the family and offers to help. In search of treatment options, she comes across Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe.
Video: Impressions from Bolivia
The parents of our cleft children are always full of gratitude. When their child is born with cleft, they often do not know what to make of the malformation, much less that it can be treated. And even if they do - most of our little patients come from the poorest of backgrounds. Their parents could never afford the operation. It is an unimaginable happiness for them to learn that their children can receive qualified treatment, and free of charge even. This wonderful, touching film from our Bolivian aid project captures these special moments of happiness.
Video: Impressions from Pakistan
This film, made for our Pakistani partner organization, the Al-Mustafa Welfare Societey, by the father of one of our patients, shows scenes from our work in Karachi. From here, our senior surgeon Prof. Ashraf Ganatra treats cleft children from poorest families. He operates the children from Karachi at the Al Mustafa Medical Center. In order to reach the many needy families living outside the city, he also regularly heads out to local provincial hospitals to treat cleft patients there.