Report by OdishaDiary bureau, Lanjigarh: A joint project undertaken by Vedanta Hospital, Lanjigarh and the Smile Train, USA under the banner of ‘Vedanta Smile Train Cleft Lip & Palate Surgery Programme’ was kicked off at Lanjigarh on 10th March 2013. Vedanta Hospital has been performing these surgeries free of cost since the last one year and it is the only ‘Smile Train Centre’ in entire Western Odisha region.
Smile Train is a US based international organisation which conducts Free Cleft Lip and Palate Surgeries worldwide and has carried out more than 80,000 surgeries till date. Dr. Ram Anupam Tripathy (Maxcilo Facial Surgeon), Dr. Ritesh Ray (Anaesthetist), Dr. Chinky Gupta (Dental Surgeon) and Dr. Manoj Sahu (General Surgeon) of Nirmala Kruti Bikash Trust (NKBT) – who manage the Vedanta Hospital – conducted nine surgeries at Vedanta Hospital on 10th March 2013.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mukesh Kumar – President & COO, VAL, said “Vedanta, in collaboration with the Smile Train, will leave no stone unturned to treat each and every such cases in Kalahandi, Bolangir, Rayagada and Koraput region. To achieve the objective, Vedanta is seeking support of all the district administration to identify such cases with cleft lip and palate.” A tri-partite agreement between Vedanta Lanjigarh, NKBT and Smile Train aims to provide a child born with a cleft the same opportunities in life as a child born without a cleft.
Mr Satish Kalra, Regional Director, South Asia – Smile Train, said, “Odisha has been priority State for Smile Train in India. Since the safety of the Cleft patient is our utmost priority, we were not able to penetrate interiors of Orissa due to lack of good surgery facilities in the region. With Smile Train’s association with Vedanta Hospital, we would provide free cleft surgeries to the cleft patient in Kalahandi and neighbouring districts.
Millions of children in the world and many in India suffer from unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly; they face difficult lives filled with shame, isolation and pain. “In India over 35,000 children are born every year with clefts and over 50% of them remain untreated for lack of awareness on corrective surgeries available for this facial deformity and poor economic background. Clefts in India are as much a social and economic problem as they are medical, leading to physical and psychological problems for patients,” said Dr. Ram Anupam Tripathy who has successfully conducted many such surgeries in the past.