An international children’s medical charity conducted surgeries for free to more than 50 children and infants in Negros Oriental, suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete City recently.
Operation Smile Philippines was invited to the province by Gov. Roel Degamo, because of requests for free surgeries to help children and young adults with such deformities.
OS executive director Gian Trebol said this is the second time Operation Smile conducted charity work in Dumaguete, the first was in 2006. He said they are happy to have partnered with the provincial government, through Degamo, who extended all-out support to them.
They said they were amazed to see that in Negros Oriental, not only children have cleft conditions but also young adults, whose parents cannot afford the very simple surgery that will change their lives and outlooks.
Trebol said the main causes of cleft lip and cleft palate are genetics factor, lack of nutrition of a mother during pregnancy, environmental factor, alcohol use, or smoking during pregnancy, and other causes that are not well understood.
He said children with speech and feeding problems have low esteem, and when in school, will be subjects of bullying that may result in dropping out of school. Studies even showed that there are parents who abandoned their children because of their facial deformities. Operation Smile is here to heal the children’s smiles, Trebol said.
Degamo said he considered the presence of Operation Smile in Negros Oriental a gift on his 49 th birthday yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Samahang Magdalo in the province conducted a bloodletting activity yesterday.
The group, with 13 chapters from Manjuyod to Siaton, and Romulo Corsame is the president of the Dumaguete Chapter. He said they have over 200 members in Dumaguete alone, who are also involved in activities such as protection of the environment, tree planting, and coastal and waterways clean-up, among others.
Meanwhile, 1,000 food packs were distributed at the psychiatric ward in Talay, Dumaguete, with more than 100 patients, the provincial jail with almost 400 detainees, and at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital with more than 450 patients, during Degamo’s birthday celebration.
Degamo said he wished for more strength, wisdom, protection and guidance from the Lord Almighty for him to be able to perform his duties and responsibilities effectively and efficiently.*JG