Vientiane Times – February 20, 2008

US Foundation Brings Smiles to Cleft Lip Patients

The US-based Plasticos Foundation may return to help cleft lip and palate patients in Laos next year, after providing free treatment for 63 people earlier this year at Mittaphab Hospital. Deputy Director of the hospital Dr. Phoukhieng Douangchack yesterday in Vientiane thanked the President of the Lao Rehabilitation Foundation, Dr. Luc G. Janssens, who coordinated with the US team, led by Dr. William James McClure.

More than 100 people applied for treatment, coming from Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Xieng Khuang, Huaphan, Vientiane , Saravan, Savannakhet and Borikhamxay provinces. Most were from poor ethnic groups. “We chose 63 emergency cases for treatment, and the rest are expecting treatment in the future,” Dr Phoukhieng said.

The team also provided free transportation and accommodation for provincial patients; normally, the cost of surgery and transport averages US$100 per person. “This price is very high for poor people,” Dr Phoukhieng said.

The Foundations also provided autoclave, laryngoscopes and medical equipment and supplies worth about US$80,000 to Mittaphab Hospital. Mittaphab Hospital first began treating cleft lip and palate patients in 1998. Since then, various overseas medical organizations have collaborated with the hospital.

By Vientiane Times