Agartala, Sep 29: It is a unique effort to put the smiles back on the faces of children born with cleft lips or palates, with the Border Security Force holding medical camps and US-based international medical NGO “Smile Train” putting in money.
“During a two-day (Friday and Saturday) medical camp, 14 people, including children and aged persons, with cleft lips and palates were operated upon by doctors,” BSF’s Tripura frontier inspector general R.K. Mishra told reporters Saturday night.
“In a similar medical camp organised June 21 at the BSF’s Composite Hospital at the Tripura frontier headquarters at Salbagan (near here), nine such cases were surgically rectified free of cost by a medical team from Kolkata. It gave the children a new lease of life and a smile on their faces. They are now leading a normal life,” Mishra said.
The Rotary Club, Kolkata, is chipping in with coordination of efforts of various agencies to give relief to the afflicted children.
The BSF officer said similar camps have been organised in the areas of West Bengal and Meghalaya that border Bangladesh.
“After the operation, the personality and the face of the person changes totally. The BSF and its associating organisations are taking suitable pre-operative and post-operative steps for the benefit of the patients,” Mishra said, accompanied by Rotary Club of Kolkata representative Chandra Mukherjee.
The surgeries would cost up to Rs.50,000 each in the normal course, but are conducted free at the camps, which are also supported by the BSF Wives Welfare Association.
“One out of 700 children is born with cleft lips or palates. According to the experts, this is a genetic problem,” Mishra said.
Experts say about 30,000 children in India are born with cleft lips or palates every year, and less than 50 percent of them go for treatment.