Operation Smile 2-1647840889752
The cleft lip surgeries were facilitated by Operation Smile UAE and Burjeel Medical City, and involved patients aged between three to 25 years. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Eight patients with cleft lips and palates received surgery here last week to correct their split tissues.

The surgeries by medical volunteers were facilitated by a charity organisation, Operation Smile UAE, and Burjeel Medical City, and involved patients aged between three years to 25 years, the hospital said in a statement. The patients were all UAE residents and hailed from eight different countries, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Morocco, India, Egypt and the Philippines.

Cleft conditions

It is estimated that every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. Those who do survive may be unable to eat, speak, socialise or smile. In many cases, their parents can’t even afford to pay for the surgeries they need.

“We were really privileged today to have Operation Smile working at our hospital in Burjeel Medical City. This was an opportunity to provide support to patients and their families who would otherwise have difficulty in accessing safe surgery. It is the first time that this medical programme has happened at our hospital, and we are extremely proud of the work that will be done, by our staff and the medical expertise from Operation Smile,” said Dr Sadir Alrawi, Burjeel Medical City chief executive officer.

Free surgeries

Operation Smile is an international medical charity that provides free surgeries to children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial anomalies. The doctors and physicians performing the surgeries were selected from Operation Smile’s network of local medical professionals. The charity has a global network of accredited medical volunteers from more than 80 countries, with a strong presence in the UAE. It has a strong reputation of working with local medical professionals, governments, hospitals and other NGOs, to provide medical care to communities.

‘Every child deserves a smile’

“Operation Smile UAE is delighted to have collaborated with Burjeel Medical City for the first medical programme of 2022. It is always heartwarming to add new facilities and supporters willing to provide assistance to our patients who need our help. We believe that every child deserves a smile,” said Morag Cromey-Hawke, Operation Smile UAE executive director.

Patients arrived at the hospital for anaesthesia check, lab work and a PCR test. They underwent surgeries for cleft palates and alveolar clefts. Thereafter, surgeries were provided for patients with cleft lip.