‘We need to look at congenital defects differently’

Even as the real life story of Pinky brought the Oscars for director Meg Mlyan and plastic surgeon Dr Subodh Kumar Singh has earned his share of name...

Written by Garima Mishra | Pune | Published:March 14, 2009 4:31 am

Even as the real life story of Pinky brought the Oscars for director Meg Mlyan and plastic surgeon Dr Subodh Kumar Singh has earned his share of name,here is a body — Rotary Club of Pune Central—- that has been working for children suffering from congenital defects like the cleft lip and cleft palate for the last nine years.

Under the Rotary Matching Grant Programme,about 900 surgeries have been performed out of which 135 have taken place in the last one year. The doctors who were part of the surgeries,performed at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Jalna Mission,did not charge any fee.

In 2010,the Rotary Matching Grant Programme will complete ten years.

Says former president of Rotary Club of Pune Central and chairperson for cleft lip surgery,Manjula Vishwanathan,“the documentary film may change the society’s outlook towards those living with congenital defects.

We hope now we will get some domestic sponsors. We have been running the show with the help of international sponsors.”

Cleft lip and cleft palate are congenital defects,which causes a variety of problems for the affected childre— – they will have speech problem and difficulty in swallowing. Respiratory infections are common. Difficulty in eating results in nutritional deficiencies. Besides medical problems,such children face discrimination in the society as well.

More than 4 million children in the world suffer from this hereditary condition. Out of this a million are born in India. The operation that can completely correct the defects will cost between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000.

Dr Parag Sahasrabudhe,who has been offering free services to the Rotary Matching Grant Programme since its inception,feels that there should be more awareness about the disease.

“In India,one in every 700 children,is affected by this problem. A lot of people,especially in rural areas,are not aware that this condition can be cured completely. To avoid further complications,surgeries should be done at an early stage ie; during the first 3 to 6 months to repair cleft lip and between 9 and 14 months to repair the cleft palate. If delayed,it can lead to other problems including facial deformation,” he said.

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