NEW DELHI: Fortis Foundation’s ‘Umeed-Smile’ initiative has recently supported the treatment of a four-month-old baby for her cleft lip surgery, making her the 100th child benefitting from the programme.
The treatment was performed by a team of experts led by Dr. Gagan Sabharwal, Consultant – Dentistry and Maxillo-Facial Surgery, Fortis Memorial Research Institute and Dr. Rashmi Taneja, Senior Consultant – Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital at Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) in Gurgaon recently.
The patient, Vedika was first diagnosed with a cleft lip condition when her mother was in her seventh month of pregnancy. After her birth, she was unable to drink her mother’s milk and faced breathing difficulties. The family could not support her treatment with their monthly income of Rs.7500. After learning about Fortis Foundation’s Umeed-Smile initiative they reached out for possible support and treatment of Vedika.
Since its inception in 2018, the Umeed-Smile initiative has been working in collaboration with Mission Smile under Fortis Foundation’s Aanchal Programme to provide free surgeries for Cleft lip and palate to children from economically weaker sections of society. The Aanchal programme aims at providing medical treatment to children from economically weaker sections of the society.
Jasbir Singh Grewal, Head, Fortis Foundation said, “The joy of bringing to smiles to children and their families is the greatest achievement for all of us at Fortis Foundation. These smiles give us the strength to go from child to child knowing that we are making a difference to their lives.
Speaking about the surgery, Dr. Gagan Sabharwal, Consultant – Dentistry and Maxillo-Facial Surgery, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon said, “Fortis is committed to ensuring access to quality healthcare for all. There is very little awareness among the public that conditions such as cleft lip and palate deformities can be treated successfully. We are trying to create awareness. These surgeries are indicative of our pledge as doctors to make the maximum effort and help patients recover and lead normal lives irrespective of their economic status.”
Cleft Lips are the second most common congenital defect and approximately 1 in 500 children in India are born with this deformity. Cleft lip and cleft palate are thought to be caused by a combination of genes and other factors. It is estimated that over 1 million children in India continue to suffer from this deformity. Over 35,000 cleft affected children have been screened and 25,000 safe corrective surgeries have been performed in India.