Brian Sommerlad, Chair of CLEFT and Cleft Surgeon, visited Iraq in November this year as he does every year, to offer some further training to the excellent surgeons working in Sulaimania, and to unveil the new operating microscope that was bought by CLEFT using the funds donated by a generous donor in memory of her brother. This collaboration has been going for eleven years but has moved on to another phase with the donation of the new microscope and a C-arm, also donated this year. 

Read more about the donation of the operating microscope here

The story was covered by visiting journalist, Tom Parry, and photographer Rowan Griffiths, and has just been published in the Global Health section of the online Telegraph (13/12/23). 

Read the Telegraph online article here

The article follows the cases of a few patients, including Niza (featured in the banner image) and 14 year old Ana Friad Khaled who has difficulties with her speech after having had two failed operations to repair her cleft (operations carried out by other surgeons not part of the cleft centre in Sulaimania). The operation the team performed on Ana involved re-repairing the muscles of the palate and lengthening it with tissue taken from the insides of the cheeks. Ana is pictured below with her mother at their home in Halabja (left) and Ana's operation taking place under the watchful eye of Mr Sommerlad, using the new operating microscope (right).


The Telegraph article also looks at the inequalities around the world in cleft care and that what CLEFT is doing sets us apart from some of the other cleft charities around the world by avoiding the 'parachute mission' model and instead focusing on long-term, sustainable care, training local clinicians in their specialties. 

CLEFT would like to thank Tom Parry for featuring CLEFT in the article in the Telegraph and Rowan Griffiths for giving his beautiful photos (all featured in the Telegraph story and throughout the CLEFT website) to CLEFT.