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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

UK doctors bring new smiles in Maharashtra

UK doctors bring new smiles in Maharashtra

Aurangabad (Maharashtra) -- Thanks to a team of British doctors visiting Maharashtra, sexagenarian Daulatbi Chand Pathan wears a new confident smile on her wizened face. She received surgical treatment for a cleft lip earlier this month.

No longer is Daulatbi ashamed of stepping out in public and showing her face before strangers. 
"Before the surgery, I could barely speak. Eating was hard, and I would rather not show my face in public. I encountered hostile looks full of disgust and was treated like a pariah," Daulatbi, a poor farm labourer, told IANS. 
The words still break as she speaks, her mouth long accustomed to the deformity now no more.
A visiting team of British doctors performed an operation to correct the cleft lip along with plastic surgery earlier in the week -- and Daulatbi's deformity is now history. 
Daulatbi and her grandson before the surgery
Daulatbi and her grandson before the surgery
Her two-year-old grandson Sajid Bashir Pathan underwent a similar operation along with her. He too looked at her and smiled in joy on seeing the new face sans deformity. 
The Pathans hail from a remote village in Paithan in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.
The grandmother and the two-year-old boy were among 86 people to benefit from free specialized surgeries to correct cleft lips and cleft palates that were performed by a British team of doctors on the poorest of poor patients at the Hedgewar Hospital, Aurangabad.
According to the hospital's ENT head Bharat Deshmukh, the special camp, which ended Saturday, was organised by Northern Cleft Foundation, UK, and Sewa International, India. It has proven to be the biggest such effort so far. 
"The charitable organisation has been conducting similar free camps in India for 11 years, and 750 poor patients have been operated upon. This year, the number of patients permanently cured of cleft lips and cleft palates was the highest," Deshmukh told IANS.
Led by George Tutturswamy, a doctor originally from Pondicherry and now living in Britain, the team included surgeons and other specialist support staff. The doctors paid for their own travel, as did all the others who were part of the team. 
The Hedgewar Hospital organised the to-and-fro travel expenses for the patients and their families and many poor patients from parts of the state that are hard to access reached the hospital. Boarding and lodging expenses were also borne by the hospital. 
"This birth deformity is quite common, and occurs in one out of every 1,500 births. Though it costs only around Rs.50,000 for the operation and other medical requirements, it is beyond the reach of the poor. This patient (Daulatbi) had to endure her cleft lip for 65 years before this opportunity suddenly came up," Deshmukh explained.
After spreading smiles of happiness among the beneficiaries and their families, the Northern Cleft Foundation team leaves India Monday. It will return next year for similar camps in Aurangabad, Nashik and Nagpur, the doctor said.
UK Team
UK Team

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