25% of the funds donated are used to support the work of cleft teams in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Upper Egypt. We do not pay for our surgeons' travel or accommodation costs. We also do not pay for individual operations. Unlike some other organisations, our emphasis is on teaching and empowering local surgeons who have invited us to help them. We do not finance "parachute missions" to fly in big teams of medical personnel to take over local hospitals and then leave, sometimes never to return. All the money goes to support infrastructure, provide equipment and assist in training of the local team.
There are many skilled and dedicated surgeons and other specialists in these countries. They often lack the opportunity to keep up to date by attending meetings and lack the equipment and facilities to make full use of their skills. We can help update them and we can provide relatively inexpensive equipment which can transform their work.
We visit our colleagues overseas regularly (usually once a year), and therefore have the opportunity to monitor how our money is spent and to see the direct benefit to the patients. (These visits are not paid for by CLEFT) We believe that working with local doctors is the only way to achieve long term improvement in patient care.
Our aim is to help build sustainable good quality facilities and teams.
We are working closely with colleagues in Bangladesh in the hope that a teaching cleft lip and palate centre can be established in Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Much needs to be done!
CLEFT has contributed £12,000 to provide nasendoscopy equipment which will be used to investigate the many patients who have speech problems following early palate repair.
In one of the frequent power cuts Mr Robert Sentongo has to drag the operating table with the sleeping patient on it to the window as there is a shortage of generators
CLEFT provided second hand, overhauled, operating microscopes for Kandy, Sri Lanka and Dhaka, Bangladesh. The surgeons and anaesthetists are often working with poor and outdated equipment and instruments. Relatively small sums of money can make a big difference. Not only do these microscopes help the surgeon perform the operation better but also enable him to teach other surgeons as he operates, as what he sees and does is transferred to a monitor.
by CLEFT. Here, Dr Salek is operating, watched by a trainee surgeon
For the future
CLEFT has been asked to fund the initial period of an appointment of a speech therapist to work with Dr. Mohammed Salek, a plastic surgeon in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Speech therapy is in the very early stages of development in Bangladesh and this pilot project would help show how important a speech therapist is in a cleft team.