Back in February 2023, the Great Ormond Street team of clinicians visited the Sheik Hasina National Institute of Burns and Plastic Surgery (SHNIBPS) in Bangladesh as part of a training visit.

The team was accompanied by Mirror journalist, Nick Sommerlad and photographer, Rowan Griffiths. Nick and Rowan shadowed the clinicians in clinic, in theatre and even to patients' homes to find out what the impact the treatment had on them. This was done with full collaboration and support of the Bangladeshi team and hospital, and we would like to extend our thanks to them for this.

The news article is now published in the Daily Mirror and you can read the full article here.

This publication brings much needed awareness of a condition that is often overlooked in the UK. The article highlights the kind of impact the condition might have on patients with cleft lip and/or palate and their families in less developed countries around the world, as well as the importance of receiving the right sort of treatment. The Mirror article also shines a light on CLEFT and the work we do.

"Parents now travel up to 12 hours from the furthest corners of Bangladesh for an appointment.

It’s a shock for any parent of babies born with clefts. But mothers in Bangladesh are frequently blamed for the condition.

When Abdur Rahman was born with a cleft that badly affected his left eye, neighbours decided it was a curse on the family."


It is children like Adori (left) and Abdur (right) that drive CLEFT’s passion for sustainable, long-term cleft care. 

It is only by sharing knowledge and protocols within each of the disciplines involved in cleft care that the patient can be treated effectively across their childhood. Nick writes:  

"CLEFT are here in Dhaka with a team of 8 from London and Cambridge. Two other plastic surgeons, 2 speech and language therapists, an orthodontist, a hearing expert and a specialist cleft nurse have all taken unpaid leave to make the trip.

They can’t help everyone. The parents of one severely malnourished baby refuse all offers of treatment and take him home. He will almost certainly die.

But most families are overjoyed at getting, for free, the kind of medical care that a decade ago was available to only the richest in Bangladesh, with the means to fly to Europe or the US for private treatment, costing up to £100,000."

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Excerpts taken from the Mirror article, published 24th March 2023 with kind permission from the Daily Mirror / Mirrorpix.