RAK Hospital will perform free cleft surgeries in UAE

Globally, a baby is born with a cleft every three minutes. Other statistics indicate that worldwide, one in 700 babies is born with a cleft lip and/or palate, which can lead to difficulty eating, breathing, hearing and speaking.

Cleft treatment alleviates many of these difficulties. A cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures fail to fuse together during fetal development. Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both the hard palate and the soft palate.

Around the world, many children with clefts never get the reconstructive surgery they need. However, this regional program aims to support patients who cannot afford the required surgery.

Commenting on the initiative, Sheikh Saqr bin Saud Al Qasimi said, “Cleft lip and palate affect so many children around the world, but can easily be corrected with simple surgery. It is therefore incumbent on us to take action to help improve the lives of all people with the disease. The initiative between RAK Hospital and Smile Train forms a partnership between two internationally renowned institutions and is part of Ras Al Khaimah’s strategy to develop a world-class healthcare system for the benefit of the people of our emirate as well as many patients looking to travel here for specialized procedures.

Dr. Raza Siddiqui, CEO of Arabian Healthcare Group and Executive Director of RAK Hospital, said, “We are very proud to partner with Smile Train to support their vision to transform the lives of children with cleft lip and palate. . As an institution, RAK Hospital has always remained at the forefront of community care delivery by introducing various new initiatives, measures and advanced treatment options. It is with great pride that I can announce that the first surgery under this noble initiative supported by Smile Train has just been successfully performed on a one-year-old boy from Abu Dhabi.

Free cleft reconstructive surgeries will be performed for patients over the age of three months after a thorough assessment of each individual case. Procedures will include primary cleft lip repair, primary cleft palate repair, and a number of other specialized secondary surgeries. All surgeries will be performed in accordance with Smile Train’s safety and quality protocols and will be documented in their required format.

Smile Train strives to give local healthcare professionals the training and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. To date, Smile Train has trained over 2,100 healthcare professionals, supported over 1.5 million cleft surgeries, and partnered with over 1,100 partner hospitals.

Elaborating on the initiative, Susannah Schaefer, President and CEO, Smile Train, said, “We are excited to launch programs in the United Arab Emirates in partnership with RAK ​​Hospital…We are ready to work in working closely with them to ensure that everyone in need is able to get the high-quality, timely care they need to thrive.

Christine E. Phillips