From 21st to 25th September 2019 Mission Smile in partnership with Muthoot Pappachan Foundation reached out to the residents of Gulbarga with the goal of putting smiles back on the faces of at least 50 children. This was done a the ESIC Medical College and Hospital an imposing institute that resembled a palace rather than a Hospital. One month before the surgery camp we raised awareness in the area through leaflet distribution and loud-speaker campaigning. Muthoot Fincorp branch Managers, with the help of Mission Smile team members screened the preliminary batch of patients at the village level. The main screening was then done by our team of medical experts, based on our safety protocols.
This was our 4th consecutive Cleft Surgical Mission in Gulbarga, Karnataka.The mission was inaugurated on 21st September by Dr A.K. Choudhury-Superintendent, ESIC Hospital, Mr Conrad Godfrey Dennis-Chief Operating Officer, Mission Smile, Dr Prasanthkumar Nellickal-Head CSR, Muthoot Pappachan Foundation, Dr Ramkumar Venkateswaran-CMO, Mission Smile, Dr Sandeep-HOD, Dept of Anaesthesia, ESIC Medical College & Mr George Mathew-Head of Operations, Karnataka-Muthoot Fincorp Ltd.
A month before the surgery camp we raised awareness in the area through leaflet distribution and loud-speaker campaigning. Earlier, as a build-up to the Mission in Gulbarga, a ‘Press Meet’ was organised on 18th September 2019 at the ESIC Hospital to build awareness with the patient community of the region. The dignitaries present were Dr A.L Nagraj – Dean, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Mr. Biswa Mahato – Regional Manager, Muthoot Fincorp Ltd. and Mr Rafiur Rahman, Program Manager, Mission Smile. The news of our mission in Gulbarga received coverage in prominent dailies of the state like Vijay Karnataka, Samyukta Karnataka, Deccan Herald and Inquilab-E-Deccan. Muthoot Fincorp branch Managers, with the help of Mission Smile team members screened the preliminary batch of patients at the village level. The main screening was then done by our team of medical experts, based on our safety protocols.
Five surgeons, six anaesthetists, two paediatricians, a dentist, a speech therapist, fifteen nurses and ten medical student volunteers comprised the medical team at the mission. Dr. Ramkumar was the field medical director and anaesthesia head with Dr. Prabhakar Margam leading the surgical team. A total of fifty volunteers from countries like Philippines and Hong Kong among others were also present at the mission.
The medical team had screened 78 patients at this mission, of whom 57 received their surgeries. The smiles on the faces of the little ones lit up their parents’ faces as everyone headed home on 25th. 6-year-old Suraj was one of the patients who underwent surgery in Gulbarga. Before leaving, his teary-eyed father, Basarvaraj, held the hands of one of our team member and smiled with happy tears in his eyes telling us his story:
“I live with my family in a village 130 KMs from Gulbarga. I have three children and the youngest one, Suraj, unfortunately, was born with cleft deformity both in his lip and palate.
There are no facilities for surgery available in my region. We got to know about this camp from the ASHA workers who told me to contact Mission Smile. I was guided by them to come attend the screening at ESIC Hospital here in Gulbarga.
My wife and I have never seen such a big hospital in our life. It looks like a city to us. We are so amazed to come here and handover my child to these great doctors without any worries. They are like God to us. We have never received so much love from anyone in our life. You are doing so much for my child and I can’t thank you enough.
I have nothing to give you but I invite all of you to have a cup of tea in my village. The entire village will be glad to see you and thankful for what you have done for my child. God bless you! And, I pray that He makes your organization stronger so that you can help many other children, like my child, in future.
No one will tease my child anymore and I will never blame myself and my wife for having a child with cleft deformities. We are truly blessed.”
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