A charity based in Taiwan recently launched a fundraising campaign to help children with cleft lip and cleft palate, in particular two from the Philippines and China that require surgery.
One of the children is a nine-month-old baby from the Philippines, who only weighs 3.2 kilograms, the average weight of a newborn.
Born into an impoverished family, baby Laurante has a severe cleft lip and palate, said the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation-Taiwan.
Laurante's parents do not have enough money to buy milk, let alone the special feeding bottles for babies with facial and oral malformations, therefore, the child is severely malnourished, the foundation said.
The baby needs to gain weight before it can have the surgery to fix the facial and oral malformations, it said.
In Taiwan, children born with cleft lip and cleft palate can have their first corrective surgery as early as three months old, when their weight reaches 5 kg, the foundation said.
A second operation can be performed when they are about nine months old to repair the cleft palate, the foundation said.
It is also raising money to help a 19-month old girl from Xinjiang Province in China, who has a severe cleft lip.
Also from a disadvantaged family, the child was unable to have surgery at the age of one because she was underweight, the foundation said.
It said its medical team visited Xinjiang earlier this year to provide free treatment for patients with cleft lip and cleft palate but the child missed the opportunity because she had a cold at the time.
Her mother was heartbroken and is hoping that the child will be able to receive treatment next year when the medical team visits Xinjiang again, the foundation said.
The foundation is hoping to raise NT$10 million (US$315,160) for children with such birth defects, during a campaign that will run through June 30, 2017, according to information on its website.
The funds will be used to cover the costs of nutritional supplements, surgery, transportation fees for the patients, psychological counseling, health education, medical equipment and medical personnel training, the foundation said.
Established by U.S. missionary and surgeon Samuel Noordhoff in 1989, the foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the patients with cleft lip and palate and craniofacial deformity to receive holistic care and to providing a wide range of social, financial and psychological services to address their needs.
The foundation began its overseas services in 1998 and has since provided free medical services in nine countries.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel