By: Sophia Yang, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Taiwanese medical team traveled more than 1,000 miles to
Hanoi, Vietnam, to offer free surgery for 35 children with cleft lips and cleft palate. The team, comprised of Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation volunteers and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital surgical physicians, worked with local physicians to carry out the successful medical mission in just two days.
The mission was joined by another two German physicians from Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe (DCKH).
Fifty years after the end of the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese are still coping with the effects of Agent Orange, which is believed to cause different types of birth defects, including cleft lips and cleft palate. A joint study by Vietnamese and Japanese scientists found a high rate of reproductive failure in women living in areas sprayed with the toxic substance during the war in comparison with a nearly unsprayed area. Scientist found twice as many cases of cleft lip and cleft palate, and the families of these children born with defects usually can’t afford a surgery due to economic disadvantages. It is a far-fetched dream for these children to get advanced medical treatment overseas to bring their smiles back. [FULL STORY]