For children in developing countries who are born with a cleft lip/palate, the consequences of living with an untreated birth defect are serious and lifelong. If the parents cannot afford or do not have access to proper surgical care for their baby, the risks of malnutrition, poor health, and family poverty drastically increase.
If left untreated, these children have trouble feeding, develop speech difficulties as they grow older, and often experience bullying and have trouble fully integrating into their societies because of how they look.
The worst part about all of this? Their suffering is preventable. Surgical procedures to repair these clefts are simple and available. The problem is that not everyone in the world can afford the luxury of surgery. Children like 3-year-old Ammar, who lives in Lebanon, simply don’t have the option for this kind of care.
MAP International is working to change that by partnering with the Global Smile Foundation (GSF). GSF offers access to cleft lip/palate surgeries and comprehensive care for children in underserved communities all over the world. MAP International is a long-term partner of GSF, providing high quality Ethicon sutures for the GSF surgeons to utilize during their missions.
When Ammar’s mother heard that the GSF mission team was making their annual visit to Beirut, she was willing to move heaven and earth to get her son there to be evaluated. With toddler in tow, she “traveled a great distance under difficult circumstances” in order to give Ammar the chance to have surgery.
The GSF team determined that Ammar was a good candidate for surgery to repair his cleft lip – a surgery “which not only transformed his appearance, but also his ability to eat and drink well and thrive as a growing child,” GSF representative Richard Pedrick reports.
Little Ammar was given a whole, complete smile – and also a chance at living a normal life. This gift of normalcy was more than his mother could have asked for.
“The donations provided by MAP International which included Ethicon sutures, were vitally important to GSF’s ability to correct Ammar’s cleft deformity,” Pedrick wrote to MAP. “We are very grateful to MAP International for this great, ongoing support of our teams over many years.”