16 Feb : Assam has embarked on a mission to become the first state in the country to be free from cleft lip and palate deformities within the next two years.Operation Smile India (OSI), an organisation conducting corrective surgeries, would work in partnership with the state government to set up a permanent cleft care centre at the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital in Guwahati, OSI Chairman Ranjit Borthakur said.
"We have selected MMCH as it has the best infrastructure in comparison to other states of the country and our organisation’s mission is to make the state first in the country to be free from such deformities," he said.
Borthakur suggested that the centre be named North East Centre for Cleft Development and Training to widen its ambit.Operation Smile India would help the state health department by running regular training camps to hone the skills of medical volunteers.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah said that more than 500 children with deformities have turned up at MMCH, but currently only 200 surgeries could be performed.
"As the rest will have to go back, we have requested OSI to undertake another round of surgery in the last week of May. We assure them that our involvement will be more intense both physically and financially," he said.