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News Article

Operation Smile Successfully Treats Cleft Lip, Palate

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 04/05/2022 - 10:04

Operation Smile and the Mexican Hospital Consortium (CMH) concluded 18 cleft lip and palate surgeries at CMH’s associated Hospital Sharp, located in Mazatlan, Sinaloa. “We will continue joining forces for the benefit of Mexican families,” said CMH via LinkedIn.

Operation Smile provides free reconstructive surgeries and multidisciplinary treatment to those living with cleft lip and cleft palate, mainly low-income children. The group provides high-quality care in adherence to global standards to improve the living conditions of patients and their families.

In Mexico, about 3,500 children are born each year with cleft lip and/or cleft palate. This is one in 700-750 newborns or about 10 children every day. Currently, the cause of this malformation has not been fully determined but researchers believe that most cases are caused by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. In many babies, a definite cause is not discovered. Major risk factors are associated with smoking during pregnancy, gestational diabetes and the use of certain medicines to treat epilepsy, such as topiramate or valproic acid, during the first trimester, according to the US’ CDC.

Operation Smile’s mission is to treat most cleft lip and palate cases in the country, so it allied with key care providers in Mexico to provide 700 free surgeries and over 1,500 assessments per year. “We have performed over 5,000 surgeries and more than 10,000 free medical evaluations in 13 years,” says Operation Smile’s website.

 Operation Smile’s partners in the private sector include Christus Muguerza, which “has already operated on around 500 children with cleft lips free of charge,” says Juan Galindo, Medical Director, Christus Muguerza Sistema de Salud.

Faro del Mayab, part of the Christus Muguerza network, is another ally of Operation Smile, helping it target its services to the Mexican southeast. Alberto Sánchez, Operations Director, Faro del Mayab shares that “alongside the organization, we perform around 250-300 free cleft lip and palate surgeries per year.”

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst