Because of your smile, you make your life more beautiful. A child’s smile is what all parents wait for. But not all the children can fulfil their parent’s wish. Yes, we are talking about children with cleft. If you ever come across a child with cut lip, you could feel why smile is so precious for them.
Meanwhile, meet the tiny boy of Keonjhar Tapan Kumar Ray and Saroj Barik from Nayagarh who were both born with a cleft lip. Nobody in their respective communities accepted well with these two children who had nothing to do with the deformity. Rather, they needed support from family and neighbours to live a dignified life. Tapan’s father Mukund Ray says “it was not easy to grow him up while on the other hand people started talking bad about our son without knowing anything”. In India, every year there are 35000 of such Saroj and Tapan born and most of them find it difficult to afford the treatment.
Meanwhile, we catched up with Dr. Sthitaprajna Lenka, a maxillofacial surgeon associated with the free cleft surgery initiatives in SSB Hospital who told us “children with cleft have to go with numerous complications like feeding, breathing and without proper care; some of them may lose their lives. But cleft is treatable and with a simple surgery, a child can live a normal life”.
However, organizations like Deutsche Cleft ABMSS, Operation Smile are providing free cleft surgery for such needy children across states in India.
Myths play as a barrier to this disorder. Certain communities believe that a child will be born with cleft if a mother during her pregnancy looks the solar clipse or cuts lime during Solar Eclipse. Some others attribute the cause as an act of fate. And importantly, the children and their mothers are often ostracized and abandoned because of the cleft.
Dr. Dushyant R Prasad, an international Healthcare Manager working for the cleft children shares “Every year 1 out of 700 children are born with cleft. But identifying patients and convincing them for surgery is the toughest part. Therefore, we are scaling up our programmes to spread awareness on cleft among masses apart from funding cleft surgeries for needy children who can live a normal life then”.