Singapore medical team to conduct free cleft operations in Mandalay

By Yamon Phu Thit
Volume 31, No. 615
February 20 - 26, 2012

A HUMANITARIAN group from Singapore and the philanthropic arm of a Myanmar company will provide free corrective operations this week to more than 100 patients suffering from cleft lips and palates.

Operation Smile Singapore and Myanmar Care Program, funded by Myanmar Brewery Limited, will operate on patients at Mandalay General Hospital from February 19 to 25, a Myanmar Care spokesperson said last week.

“Although the operations are at Mandalay Hospital, the patients are from all over the country,” said U Maung Maung Sein, deputy managing director of Myanmar Brewery. “We will also pay for travel, meals and accommodation expenses for all patients. We welcome patients regardless of age, gender and race.”

Cleft lip and cleft palate are congenital diseases in which the organs of the face do not develop normally. While early treatment is recommended, children should not undergo a corrective operation before four months of age.

According to the Yangon Central Women’s Hospital, cleft deformities occur in approximately one in 800 to 1000 babies in Myanmar, above the global average of one in 700.

The Myanmar Care program conducted its first surgical mission in 2010 when it facilitated operations for more than 160 patients in Yangon.

“The children did not recognise themselves after the operation. When they recognised themselves, they started to smile. We are pleased to see their first smiles,” Myanmar Brewery commercial director U Myint Zaw said.