In underdeveloped nations, cleft of the lip and palate are the 2 most common congenital deformities. Modern medical care is simply not accessible and most children go through life with permanent facial scars and deformities. The deformity and social implications (shame, isolation and ridicule) is secondary to the chronic physical pain plagued by chronic infections, at which point the deformity becomes dangerous and sometimes fatal.
While on international surgical missions, the Surgical Friends medical team prepares to provide whatever reconstructive surgical care the mission requires. The one area the team is always prepared for is surgical care for children born with cleft of the lip and palate. It’s that common. Our medical team makes a point of continuing their relationship with the local medical team and their patients by returning each year and remaining accessible via video conferencing and other means of virtual communication.
Despite caring for over 1,000 patients each year, Surgical Friends Foundation is able to function with only 3% of donated money being channeled to overhead costs. That means 97% of donation money goes directly into the missions.