| Social welfare minister Akon Bora plays with a child at the cleft care centre at the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos |
May 15: In order to enable more children with cleft deformities and cleft-related nutritional deficiencies to avail medical treatment, Operation Smile India has tied up with the state social welfare department to identify more such children.
This was announced by Operation Smile, India, during a programme organised at Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH) in the city today.
Social welfare minister Akon Bora was also present on the occasion.
Under this joint initiative, field workers of social welfare department will visit different areas in urban, periphery as well as rural areas and identify children with cleft deformities and provide a list of their names to officials of Operation Smile India.
Specialists involved in treating children with cleft lips and palates have found that a large number of such children is malnourished. These field workers will also be responsible for identifying children suffering from cleft-related malnourishment.
Speaking on the occasion Bora said: “Health and social welfare departments are inter-related and for greater benefit of the public, these two departments have to work hand-in-hand. The joint initiative that has been taken by our department with Operation Smile will be immensely helpful in treating several individuals suffering from cleft deformities that hamper them from leading a normal life. We will offer all cooperation and help to Operation Smile to make this effort a success.”
So far, Operation Smile India has operated upon 423 children in the Kamrup (rural) district who were afflicted with cleft palates and lips during surgical missions organised from time to time in the past three years.
In Kamrup (metropolitan) district, 142 children have been operated upon. On the other hand, 5,800 individuals from across the state have been surgically treated.
The children identified will be provided free medical surgical treatment, medicines as well as food by Operation Smile India. Free food and lodging will also be available for one attendant. Two attendants of children below five years can avail this facility.
“We are working towards making the city as well as the state cleft-free. There are still many more individuals with similar deformities across the state. But it is not always easy for us to identify them. Now under our joint initiative, Anganwadi and other field workers of the social welfare department will identify and prepare a list of such children and submit it to the child development and project officers in their respective districts. These officers will then provide the list to us,” manager, partnerships, Operation Smile Guwahati, Runa Rasique said.
Operation Smile India will also provide training to Anganwadi and other field workers on all aspects of cleft deformities so that they are equipped to inform and guide those with such deformities.
“Most of the children with cleft deformities also suffer from nutritional deficiencies. It is essential to treat them as they may grow up and give birth to children with similar deformities. It has been found that the chances of delivering such a child are more in a malnourished mother,” Rasique said.