ICSF Rounds out 2013 with Missions to Peru, Bolivia, and the Philippines

2013 saw ICSF add yet another service to its regimen of treatments for children born with clefts in the developing world, with the implementation during ICSF’s October mission to Pucallpa, Peru of dental appliance services for cleft patients, to aid in speech and eating. First, it must be understood that children with clefts have many medical needs. It’s not only the cleft of the lip and palate. The middle ear is abnormal and often has fluid build-up. The palate, even though it can be repaired surgically, does not function properly, and speech is poor. Teeth and supporting structures frequently are abnormal, requiring intervention. These are just some of the difficulties endured by children with clefts. ICSF has made a commitment to provide the same comprehensive care that kids in the United States and other developed countries receive. A previous example of this commitment was ICSF’s implementation of a speech therapy program for its cleft palate patients in 2011.

Janine before and after

Janine (Philippines), above, before surgery, had an extremely rare form of cleft—a midline cleft lip. Above right shows Janine one week following surgery by ICSF. Even though the deformity appears mild, the muscles were not connected at the midline, which would have limited her range of expression as she grew up.

Concurrent with the burn and cleft surgeries and dental work Peru, Theresa Snelling, ICSF’s head speech therapist, conducted speech therapy training for kids with previous palate surgery. “This was truly a multidisciplinary mission,” commented Dr. Williams. “I am really happy with the strides we are making is meeting these kids’ complex needs. There is no other volunteer organization that strives to this degree to meet the complex needs of these Third World kids.”

In its LaPaz, Bolivia, mission, ICSF treated mainly burn victims. Thirty-six children with clefts were treated by ICSF in its second mission of the year to Kabankalan, Philippines.

Angelica before and after

Angelica (Peru, left) before surgery in 2011. Angelica after lip surgery and palate surgery in 2013 (right).

Design by Melissa Ventura, Development by Drew Bertola and Walter Martin.