GPHC successfully conducts cleft surgeries

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

See full statement from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation:Over the weekend, the plastic surgery and maxillofacial teams at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) achieved a significant milestone by completing their second round of independent cleft surgeries, with a total of 9 successful procedures, including 6 cleft lip repairs and 3 cleft palate repairs.

These life-changing surgeries were made possible through the ongoing collaboration with Smile Train, an international charity dedicated to providing Comprehensive Cleft Care. GPHC earned certification as a Smile Train Centre last year, marking four years of successful partnership.

The journey with Smile Train at GPHC commenced in 2019 under the expert guidance of Dr. Louise LaBerge and Dr. Richard Raker. Dr. Rajkumar, Dr. Aguila, and Dr. Arturo were trained in cleft lip, cleft palate, and anaesthetic care, respectively. Over the years, the local surgical team’s expertise has grown, allowing them to take on supervisory roles. As of 2023, GPHC’s surgical and anaesthetic capabilities for cleft patients is now fully conducted in-house.

Embracing the “teach a man to fish” model, the initial three trainees have become educators themselves, training new staff under their supervision. The success of this model demonstrates the sustainability and capacity-building approach employed by Smile Train and GPHC.

Additionally, in 2022, GPHC expanded its services to include Nutrition and Speech therapy components. Ms. Lambert and her team, the nutritionists, work closely with patients to achieve feeding goals and improve overall health. Parents and caregivers of children with clefts are educated on specialized feeding techniques to navigate their unique anatomy. Following palatoplasty, speech therapy is administered to enhance the speech development of the young patients.

The ultimate goal is to correct cleft lips when the patient is at least 3 months old and cleft palates when they are at least 9 months old, provided they are in good health.

To date, GPHC – Smile Train has successfully completed surgical corrections for 71 patients, including 41 primary unilateral cleft lip repairs, 8 primary bilateral lip repairs, 39 cleft palate repairs, 6 oronasal fistula repairs, and one alveolar bone grafting.

Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation continues to be committed to transforming the lives of children with cleft conditions, ensuring they receive comprehensive care and support for a brighter and healthier future.