BARMM Health Minister Safrullah M. Dipatuan led a series of cleft lip and palate surgery operations dubbed as “Alay namin Ngiti para sa Kinabukasan” from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, 2019.
The surgical operations were offered free to Bangsamoro patients and even extended to those in Lanao del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.
The Ministry of Health lauded the invaluable contribution of Dr. Serapio B. Montañer Jr., Al-Haj Memorial Hospital, Smile Train Philippines, and Marikina St. Vincent General Hospital to the said operations.
According to the World Health Organization, cleft lip, cleft palate or both are birth defects which affect approximately 1 per 500-700 newborns. Such condition causes problem with eating, speaking and even with hearing.
One of the recipients of the free surgery was a man with cleft palate from Tubok, Malabang, Lanao del Sur who endured 30 years of having speech difficulties and dental problems.
“We are happy that the babies and children can finally eat properly while the older ones can now confidently smile and speak,” said Dipatuan.