Operation Cleft

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Operation Cleft is a unique Rotary project that provides free cleft repair surgery for underprivileged children in Bangladesh. Because cleft repair surgery is not covered under Bangladesh’s overburdened public health care system, thousands of children grow to adulthood with this condition untreated.
Because of the way they look, these children are ostracised by society. Many suffer from ear, nose and throat infections as well as depression and malnutrition.
By surgically repairing their cleft lip and/or palate, we are providing them with an opportunity to lead a normal life, to get an education, to build a social network and to reach their full potential as contributing members of their community. And the cost of each operation – just $AUD300.
Operation Cleft also supports the development of speech and language therapy. The service is relatively new to Bangladesh and is limited mainly to Dhaka. Our focus is on making speech therapy more accessible and to promoting it as a post operative program to achieve best outcomes, particularly in young children after a cleft palate repair.
We have been working with the community health workers over the last three years. These workers go out into the community and are able to provide basic advice to families on how to improve their child’s speech post surgery.
Of course, ideally we like to operate on children when they are young and have not yet developed the nasal speech patterns that require correction. However, because children with cleft palates, in particular, are prone to infection, it is not always possible to operate on children when they first present for surgery. We have to wait until they are well enough to tolerate the aesthetics.
For more information go to: https://www.operationcleft.org.au/