US surgeons give free treatment to Vietnamese children

Ha Noi, Nov. 24 (VNA) -- A surgical mission of the U.S. Operation Rainbow led by Prof. Michael Schafer of the Chicago Medical University has recently given free operations to 24 Vietnamese children with hare lips and cleft palates.

The operations have been conducted at the Viet Nam-Cuba Hospital under the Ha Noi healthcare sector.

This was the second time the Operation Rainbow conducted free treatment for facially deformed children. It will continue giving free humanitarian surgery to such children in Viet Nam in 2001.

All kids with hare lips and cleft palates will receive corrective surgery under the "Thousand Smiles" humanitarian programme by 2002, according to the Viet Nam Child Protection Fund (VCPF).

The "Thousand Smiles" programme has brought smile surgery to more than 20,000 children with hare lips and cleft palates compared to the 25,000 found suffering such deformities in 1995.

A VCPF survey showed that many of such children are living in remote,isolated, mountainous and island areas, and that poverty, low cultural standards and lack of information are the main reasons why many of them have not yet received humanitarian surgery.

However, with more than 20,000 operations over the past three years, the "Thousand Smiles" programme has been successful thanks to cooperation between the Vietnamese Government and organizations with international communities.--VNA