During the course of Mobile Health Camps, Dr. Ijaz noticed many cases in the villages with by birth Cleft Lip & Palate problems. Such a plastic surgery usually costs over Rs.100,000 in a private hospital. Dr. Ijaz knew those people had no means to afford that cost and were bound to grow and live with such problem and hence living in the shadows of depression and inferiority complex caused by the feeling of not being normal.
Cleft Lip is a condition that created an opening in the lip between the mouth and nose. It looks as a split in the lip. A Cleft Palate would occur when there is an opening in the roof of the mouth. Cleft Lip & Palate could occur separately or together. The incidence is one in every 600-700 births. With most cases, the cause of the cleft is unknown; however there might be inherited factors that could result in the formation of a cleft.
Dr Ijaz developed liaison with Dr. Amanullah Raja, a renowned plastic surgeon working in U.K. who agreed to be partner in the mission of treating cleft lip and palate patients. Decent welfare Society organized first such camp in Bashir Hospital where Dr. Amanullah did the first such Surgery in 1996. Together, they were able to organize one more camp in 1997, and then with Dr. Amanullah’s efforts, a team of surgeons and other medical support staff from Royal Hull Hospital, England joined the campaign.
Dr. Nick Hart and his team including doctors and support medical staff offered their services, free of cost; in return they would get hands on experience in such surgical procedures as well as a chance to participate in community services.
Decent Welfare Society was the only NPO which specialized in providing free/semi-paid Cleft Lip & Palate surgery in Pakistan.
Pakistan Cleft Lip & Palate Association (PCLAPA):
PCLAPA was formed in April, 2001 appointing Dr. Amanulah as its first President to take care of those camps. So far, Dr. Amanullah Raja , Dr. Nick Hart consultant plastic surgeon ,Dr Jerry Purdy and Annette Middlton theater manager along with their team have organized 9 such camps at Bashir Hospital, where more than 2,500 cases were examined and 700 cases were operated with complete success.
Those camps were a regular feature of decent welfare Society and were organized twice every year at Bashir Hospital, Gujrat where Pakistani and British Surgeons jointly performed such surgeries. Expenses on such camps usually averaged an amount of Rs.40,000 per day and a camp was held for a period of 10 days. Those expenses did not include the travel, boarding & lodging expenses for the doctors and their support surgical staff.
Accommodation along with meals were provided by the Bashir family at their guest house in Gujrat, Doctors and their support surgical staff from England took care of their own travel expenses through fund raising / donations in England. Dr. Nick Hart and his team confirmed their availability for the next Plastic surgery Camp which was planned for April, 2004 at Bashir Hospital.
“This is the area I want to focus in the future. Decent welfare Society has planned to organize 3-5 such camps every year in Gujrat as a regular feature at Bashir Hospital. We have been fortunate enough to have full human resource support from Dr. Amanullah Raja and Dr. Nick Hart to make it all possible in the past and we are committed to continue if funds are made available to support such expensive surgical procedures.” So far, family donations have covered the deficit expenses in the past camps