met Shariah in Dhaka with his father in 2006 when he was 3 months old. He had a very complex craniofacial cleft involving lips, palate, cheeks and eyes.


With the surgeons in Dhaka Medical College Hospital, we carried out some early operations knowing that more would be needed.

Unfortunately, he was then lost to follow-up. He reappeared last year aged 17, with his father, in the Cleft and Craniofacial Centre at the SHNIBPS, Dhaka. He is doing a diploma in civil engineering.

During this visit, the Bangladeshi surgeons, Caroline Mills and I carried out further surgery. Caroline demonstrated some bone grafting and we revised cheek and right upper and lower eyelids to improve appearance and perhaps make an artificial eye possible.

Now the priority is his speech – and some further surgery to his left lower eyelid. He had a very complex palate abnormality and will need further surgery to the palate but also the speech and language therapy that he has missed out on. The speech and language therapy service in the centre in Dhaka was not available when Shahriar was a baby.


We met Khadjiatul, who had a similar type of complex facial cleft in August 2023, although it was less severe than Shahriah’s.


He had his second operation to repair his palate and complete his lip repair during this visit.

He, too, will require further surgery to his eyelids and nose and, possibly speech therapy but we hope that his care can continue seamlessly with the team at the CLEFT/ SHNIBPS Cleft and Craniofacial Centre.

Brian Sommerlad

If you would like to help support patients such as Shahriah and Khadjiatul in Bangladesh, you can donate to our Bangladesh fund. Alternatively, you can set up a regular donation by clicking the donate button below and select 'Regular'. Just £40 can cover the cost of a cleft lip and palate operation by paying for essential anaesthetic and suture material.