In July, Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre was the venue for a large gathering of cleft care specialists from all over the world. This is an event that takes place every four years and is an opportunity for delegates to hear about the latest research in cleft care and to share practice and experience.

It was important for CLEFT to have a presence at the congress so we booked a stand that became a hub of activity all week long. The stand certainly enjoyed a lot of attention during the week and many new contacts and friendships were made. It was fascinating to talk to those involved in cleft care and to hear the challenges and successes in different parts of the world.

In spite of some problems getting visas approved in time, we were able to help fund the visits of a number of team members from the centres we support. The Emirates Foundation also generously donated a number of flights which helped us keep costs down. Several of our international guests gave papers and presented posters. 

Photos: Brian Sommerlad and Luqman Majid, Surgeon from Sulaymaniyah in front of the CLEFT stand (above, banner image). Malka Jayathilake, Speech & Language Therapist from Sri Lanka (below left); Brian Sommerlad with surgeons Nishat Abdullah, Mohammad Choudhury and Mohammad Khan (below centre) and Dr Khan presenting one of his papers (below right).


A highlight of the week was a reception organised by Clare Rivers, cleft surgeon and member of the fundraising committee. The evening consisted of food, drink and music and a more informal opportunity to meet members of the cleft (and CLEFT!) community. The evening was funded by a number of personal donors – not with CLEFT funds.