Thursday, November 20, 2014

Smile Heroes of Arabia Felix

This is a blog to acknowledge the heroic efforts of my Yemeni Arab friends who make efforts to change the lives of thousands of cleft and plastic surgery patients in this part of the Arab world.

Since 1998 , over six thousand mostly plastic surgery (general minor and major as well)and cleft patients from this nation as well as other surrounding Arab and East African nations were treated for free at our charitable missions.Over 97% of the  medical team are local Yemeni Arabs,and not expats, except for the plastic surgeon and some of his close overseas friends.

One of the most significant accomplishments in Arab smile missions happened in a small and unknown Yemeni rural town called Yarim. When the Smile Train first launched the free cleft lip and palate programmes in January 2010 for underprivileged Yemeni families across the entire nation, Yarim General Hospital was the first to take on this mammoth challenge.
No promises or claims of registering thousands of cleft patients were announced to the internet press or media. Instead, the carefully chosen team decided to play by ear and give it their best shot.
The first week of text messaging by donor GSM companies brought in over 500 new registrations.The numbers swelled to over 1500 on less than  two years. Most of the work came to a standstill after the Arab uprisings of 2011.
From January 2010 till September 2014 over 1336 cleft patients received that second chance at life.
The follow up surgeries as a result of the registrations now stand at over three thousand cleft patients.

One of the highest honours this project received was the invitation to present a  poster session  on the Arabia Felix Smile Train work for 1314 cleft children, at the April 72nd ACPA cleft craniofacial congress in Palm Springs California where delegates from all nations would be sharing their work and papers.
I am pleased to inform you that as the submitting author, the following abstract has been accepted for a POSTER presentation at the 72nd Annual Meeting & Pre-Conference Symposia of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA), to be held April 20-25, 2015 at the Westin Mission Hills hotel, Palm Springs, CA, USA. 
Congratulations, and we look forward to your presentation in Palm Springs next year.

Robert J. Havlik, MD
2015 Program Chair
American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association
Yarim Govt Hospital team did an outstanding job in helping thousands of underprivileged Yemeni cleft lip and palate children and deserve honour for what they have achieved so silently.

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