Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate patients in Myanmar still high

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Cleft lip and cleft palate (orofacial cleft) are facial and oral malformations that occur very early in pregnancy. The causes of orofacial clefts among most infants are unknown. Some children have a cleft lip or cleft palate because of changes in their genes. Cleft lip and cleft palate are thought to be caused by a combination of genes and other factors, such as things the mother comes in contact with in her environment, or what the mother eats or drinks, or certain medications she uses during pregnancy. According to the CDC research finding, there are some factors that increase the chance of having a baby with orofacial cleft:

Smoking―Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with an orofacial cleft than women who do not smoke.

Diabetes―Women with diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy have an increased risk of having a child with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared to women who did not have diabetes.

Use of certain medicines―Women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy, such as topiramate or valproic acid, during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy have an increased risk of having a baby with cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared to women who didn’t take these medicines.

This orofacial cleft is commonly found in children from families with low socioeconomic status, mostly in the country’s remote areas.

According to an estimation based on records from the Central Women’s Hospital, Yangon between 6,000 and 8,000 children in Myanmar are born with cleft lip and cleft palate every year.“The treatment gap for cleft lip and palate is still high, as there are not enough hospitals to cope with the birth rate of those patients,” Dr Thi Ha Myint Wei, the New Look New Light charity organisation, said to The Global New Light of Myanmar.

The Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Program by KT Care foundation aim to give access to life-changing surgeries to individuals in remote areas of Myanmar who are living with the debilitating effects of cleft lip/cleft palate since 2012.

“We have routine corrective surgery program for cleft lip and palate patient in collaboration with New Look New Light Charity Organization. We use to carry out corrective surgery for 5 patients per month through our routine program. In this year, 2016 we have successfully delivered our life-changing surgical services to 53 patients from the different parts of Myanmar,” Dr Paing Soe Kyaw, Executive Director of KT Care Foundation, said.

People with cleft lip and cleft palate problems may contact to KT Care Foundation via info@ktcare.org or +951 527522 and +951 527516 to inquire about treatment opportunities.

Source: Ministry of Information Website, Centers for disease control and prevention – CDC, and KT Care Foundation.

Photo:MOI

Shoon Lae Phyo gets eating, drinking and speaking well

Shoon Lea Phyo Oo (1.7 years old) is one of the beneficiaries of the KT Care Cleft Lip and Palate Program. Her parents, from Maubin Township, Ayerwaddy Division, are seasonal workers who have very low monthly income.

Due to being born with a cleft lip, Shoon Lea Phyo Oo faced difficulties in her routine activities

such as eating, drinking, and speaking. Her mother, Ma Khin Hnin Oo, felt so sorry for her and worried that she could face losing confidence in being able to socialise within the community. Neighbours of the family told her mother, “The baby is unlucky and very ugly.”With support from the KT Care Cleft Lip and Palate Program, Shoon Lea Phyo Oo recently underwent a successful operation to correct her cleft lip at Shwe Baho Hospital in Yangon.

Following the surgery, her mother said, “Now, she gets eating, drinking and speaking very well. We are very happy about our daughter.” The situation of their daughter is completely different and more beautiful now. Moreover, her mother believes that Shoon Lea Phyo Oo will have a more confident future and will grow like the other children.

Shoon Lea Phyo Oo is one of the 10 patients who received life changing support from the KT Care Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Program in October-November 2016.

Shoon Lae Phyo
Shoon Lae Phyo and her parent