Mission: 1. to provide free reconstructive surgery to children born with the cleft lip and palate anomaly
2. to provide education and exchange of ideas concerning medical procedures with local medical professionals, to empower and inspire them to support free programs within their own countries
3. to implement and develop programs and centers to identify causes and solutions, and prevent and/or lessen future cases of cleft lip and palate
4. to create an awareness that makes it unacceptable for a province or country to not treat, free of charge, cases of cleft lip and palate among an underserved population
5. to build bridges of friendship among all people so as to create international understanding and goodwill by partnering volunteers with medical teams.
6. to actively promote and encourage ancillary humanitarian projects
Programs: AFS focus's on setting up permanent programs in one given geographic area of the world at a time. The first country that AFS has approached is China because of their need for this service and the already established relationships with existing organizations. Initially, AFS Project China will organize and send up to four teams annually to a specific location, each team being composed of between 15 and 24 volunteer medical professionals and 7 to 10 non-medical volunteers. During a 10 to 14 day period each team is on location, between 80 and 120 underserved children with untreated clefts will receive free reconstructive surgery provided by medical professionals working in tandem with local medical practitioners.
During each visit, medical team members work side by side with their local counterparts, providing an interchange of ideas on proper medical procedures and techniques including follow up care. Mini-teams also are sent between major thrusts in order to work on a one to one basis with local physicians and to deal with cases that require complex treatment.ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™? The goal is for very small teams to go semi-annually to consult with and treat extremely difficult cases and support the continued efforts of local medical professionals.
I volunteered as an anesthesiologist for this organization on a recent trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh. I was impressed with the dedication of the staff and volunteers to provide repairs to cleft lips and palates that the children of Dhaka. The quality of care for these needy children was exceptional. A huge amount of work is done by this organization and the supporting help by Rotarians both in the US, Australia partnering with local Bangladesh Rotarians was inspiring!