Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Mission in Lebanon 2017
They are between a couple of months old and their twenties… But they have one thing in common… A cleft lip that ruined their life and made them secluded, living in their cocoons, not daring to regularly step out of it and feeling very different and isolated, every day. BMG hosted last week, and for the fifth consecutive year, the Global Smile Foundation initiative led by Dr Usama Hamdan in collaboration with Talia foundation, having the beautiful mission to give back hope in the hearts of the many people suffering from Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate.
The Global Smile Foundation’s team is a fully comprehensive team of professional speech therapists, pediatricians, ENT specialists, plastic surgeons, dental surgeons, dieticians, psychologists, child counselors, full intensive unit care staff as well as medical photography coverage. Every child was seen by each unit of the above in order to get a full screening as well as emotional support before proceeding to surgery.
Indeed, regarded by the society as “abnormal”, patients need to be accompanied in order to reintegrate it as “normal”, learn to live in it, to socialize and move forward. The majority of them come from very poor backgrounds making their daily lives stigmatized. It was a five full days initiative where BMG and the Global Smile Foundation doctors and staff joined forces and expertise to perform the surgeries that will change the whole world for our patients, help those who can’t, and bring back a smile on their faces as well as a better chance to live a better life.
What is Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate?
A “Cleft lip and cleft palate occur when tissues in the baby’s face and mouth don’t fuse properly. Normally, the tissues that make up the lip and palate fuse together in the second and third months of pregnancy. But in babies with cleft lip and cleft palate, the fusion never takes place or occurs only partially, leaving an opening”.
Where does it come from?
Researchers believe that most cases of cleft lip and cleft palate are caused by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Sometimes the baby inherits a Cleft Lip and palate gene that would be triggered by environmental causes.
Who are Global Smile Foundation?
Global smile foundation is an NGO working in bringing first class surgery repair to patients throughout the developing world who suffers from congenital facial deformities. They mainly work with Latin America, Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. The main aim of the Foundation is not only to repair but also to teach. Creating awareness is as important as repairing a lip or a palate.
When interfering in difficult and poor background, it is essential to bring light and educate about this deformity in order to avoid it as much as possible. Last but not least, the Global Smile Foundation initiative is also a fertile field for workshops. Indeed, every time they gather in a country to perform surgeries, they make sure to form local surgeons and doctors.
What about Lebanon this Year?
This year, BMG witnessed dozens of desperate cases suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate. It was very hard on doctors to choose priorities especially when many factors play in the success of the surgery. Has the patient been treating his teeth well for example? If not and if the gum is inflamed, the surgery will not be possible.
Suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate is a daily pain whether it is physical or psychological. The day we are able to participate in its reparation, is always a happy day. That’s why BMG always answers yes and puts all its force on task.
Who is Dr. Usama Hamdan?
Dr. Usama Hamdan is an Otolaryngologist/Facial Plastic Surgeon founder and President of Global Smile Foundation, a Boston-based non-profit foundation that provides comprehensive and multidisciplinary care to underserved patients born with cleft deformities throughout the developing world and has been involved with outreach programs for the last 26 years. He is the superstar for those who have no one else to turn to. With his very competent, kind, and heroic team, they perform surgeries throughout the world and are the direct cause for thousands of smiles illuminating the daily life of thousands of people all around the globe.
When we talk about Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate we always think about a smile. About this patient who wakes up and looks into his mirror to discover a face he likes and learns to love. However, when we use the word smile, we don’t only think about the physical smile, but also about the internal smile. The smile who erases frustration and hurt, humiliation and fear. The blossoming smile from deep down inside a patient’s heart. The smile that will bring him confidence and self esteem.
The smile that makes our own hearts smile and be proud.
See you next year and keep smiling… Globally!