As many as 61 Palawan children, who suffered from cleft lip and cleft palate conditions, have undergone free-life changing sugeries on March 15 and 16, as the Rio Tuba Nickel (RTN) and Coral Bay Nickel Mining Corporation (CBNC), Security Bank and Colgate Palmolive Philippines partners with Operation Smile and the Narra Medicare Hospital.
The free-life changing procedures took place in Narra, Palawan.
The Narra Medicare Hospital, spearheaded by Dr. Arlin Josue, hosted the programme in performing the procedures on patients from six months of age and upwards.
The hospital contains a new complex building where operating rooms and facilities were available to perform the procedures and for patients to recover.
The Operation Smile clinical team, composed of 48 volunteer cleft care professionals, along with hospital staff from the Narra Medicare Hospital voluntereed their time and resources so patients coming as far as Liminangcong, Balabac and Linapacan could benefit from world-class surgical procedures.
The partnership with Operation Smile is a result of the corporate social responsibility of RTN, CBNC, Security Bank and Colgate Palmolive Philippines and their dedication to enhance community access to high-quality care closer to home and improving the quality of life for children and young adults with these specific facial irregularities.
“This initiative is in keeping with our corporate social responsibility to support our community and work with charitable groups like Operation Smile,” Erning Llacuna, CBNC Corporate Head said during their press conference on Tuesday, March 14.
Operation Smile Country Director of Development, Roberto Manzano, said researchers believe that oral cleft occurs due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. He added that obesity, diabetes, alcohol intake and cigarette smoking have also been identified as risk factors.
“Children with cleft conditions experience difficulty in feeding, and are likely to become malnourished. They are prone to developing ear infection, dental problems and speech impairment. And, unless treated early, they would face bullying that could destroy their self-esteem,” Manzano said.
According to Operation Smile, based on the 2020 census of the province’s population, Palaweños who have of have had this congenital deformity at around 2,500.
Emiliano Romano, Operation Smile Executive Director said that the Operation Smile “is ramping up its effort to treat more children nationwide and is targeting 1,000 surgeries this year.”