Jeet Maheria
Right Unilateral Cleft lip & Cleft palate

Jeet Maheria is 1 year old and is born with cleft lip and cleft palate. It was difficult for her mother to bear him when she saw him with this deformity at first. She was not happy and was in extreme shock. It was of course for them to get in this situation. But Jeet’s father did not lose hope and convinced her to take care of him at her best. When he was born, doctors guided them about his deformity and the same can be treated when he will grow in accordance with his fitness.

When parents were counseled about his upbringing in rural part of India, they narrated how difficult it was for her mother to feed him milk and food to keep him healthy. He continuously used to have cough and cold and was not able to have milk or anything and due to this, he was under weight and malnourished till the age of one.

They were not having enough money to travel to city to see doctors for her deteriorating health since his birth, as it becomes very difficult for daily wage workers to keep themselves away from work and travel to city.

They got to know about our cleft screening camp by Medlife Foundation, in a nearby tribal village and came there to seek medical advice. They were counseled and given with all required guidance and help to reach to our center for further care.

Treating him for the first time would not end the story; he would need another two-three further corrective surgeries for palate and nose.

Such children are usually kept away from the society people to avoid bad comments and the same restrains them to visit schools as they get bullied.

The overall care would need series of surgeries and post operative care to bring him to the main stream of our society.

Radhika Thakore
Cleft lip

Radhika is a 5 year old girl, still living with Cleft lip deformity. When born, she was left un-attended for few days by her mother and gradually she started taking care of her when got to know about the treatment of such deformities is possible. But both the parents were sad about her birth with this deformity, as it was first time for them to get the glimpse of this deformity.

Her father is a daily wage labor and was not able to see doctors while she was growing living with cleft. Due to daily wage earning to keep family have two time meals. He could not manage to visit doctors and this way never took initiative to seek any medical help from anywhere until they attended one of Medlife Foundation’s cleft screening camp in their village.

She had to stay back at her home most of the time, as it was difficult for her to go out in society due to her facial deformity. When it comes to a girl child, it really gives pain to both the parents. As they start thinking whether she will get married or not! In India, girl’s marriage is of utmost importance since their birth. Mother had lost all of her hope to bring her up, though father supported the most until she reached at the age of 5 and got an opportunity to visit Medlife Foundation for her surgery.

Cleft children usually need speech therapy to practice on their speech habits and this way they get the ability to pronounce and speak. In case of cleft palate, it needs many sittings of speech therapy to make them speak well.

Versha Solanki
Unilateral Cleft lip

Versha born with cleft lip, though it was unbelievable for their parents to see her daughter with cleft lip deformity. Her father works as a labor and mother is a housewife. Soon after her birth, they had visited doctor in their village and collected information about the surgery for her deformity and the age for the same.

Her mother took good care of her and visited Medlife Foundation to take further advice for the surgery of her daughter. She started playing with her friends in society and gradually grew up and attained the age of surgery. Though in beginning her mother hesitated taking her out and remained inside until they get confidence about her surgery.

Jeel Cleft lip

Meet Jeel, He is like any other toddler learns the world with mummy and daddy’s attention however this little guy’s life was not smooth few months back. He was born with cleft lip and hence always gets attention due to wrong reasons, his appearance!!

No parenthood has a dream of having a child with the deformity like cleft lip and same with Jeel’s parents Mr and Mrs Bharthalia. Like any other kid Lakshya was also darling to his parents and grandparents however everyone was worried about his speaking ability and looks. Everyone in the family knows that a child with cleft lip can suffer from serious health issues and social stigma.

They decided to meet Dr Shyam Sheth for cleft lip surgery. Dr Shyam knew exactly what Jeel needs and advised his parents that he needs cleft left surgery soon. His parents were worried about long procedure for surgery because Jeel was not even

6 months old and in addition to that his weight was below the average. After 2 months when he became healthy enough to go for procedure they met Dr Shyam again and explained their concern. Dr Shyam explained them calmly that the procedure is a need of the hour and he will be OK after it.

Dr Shyam Sheth is setting a standard of excellence in the provision comprehensive cleft care that young kid like Jeel need to live healthier and

happier lives. After a series of successful counseling and treatment Jeel’s cleft lip is repaired completely.

Look how he came out”

Dr Shyam is on a mission to

bring equality and justice to all children and adults from rural parts of India facing societal discrimination due to cleft and other craniofacial birth defects

Sanjay Boyi Cleft lip

Gopal Thakore
Left Unilateral Cleft lip & Cleft palate

Sanjay Boyi was born in small village of India situated in Mehsana, Gujarat. His birth was not celebrated like other children in village due to his unusual appearance. Sanjay had a cleft in lip and palate. Due to lack of knowledge and awareness, such kind of born in their village made him an alien among other children.

Sanjay’s mother had been cursed for the unusual look of her child as she had a cleft in lip. Although they had been briefed about the cleft by doctor. Instead of supporting them villagers made their life humiliating by spreading rumors about Sanjay and gave him a different tag like “child of devil”, “sinner” and so on. Sanjay’s parents came under high social stress due to highly negligence and the taunts of the villagers. In result, they stopped to take their kid out in public.

The parents came from rural and poor background. Both of them hardly completed their primary education. They were not in a mental state to take a second opinion apart from what they had been told by their peers and priests. Because they never advised wisely by anyone. This whole sequel increased their fear and decreased the understanding level to take any action or decision in that direction and that’s the reason the thought of going to the specialized doctors never flashed in their mind because of lack of education. Being a daily wage laborer, his father, Mr. Arvind Boyi, neither have time nor the enough money for the required surgery. Moreover her mother, Ms. Hansa Boyi, found it very difficult to feed her kid due to the cleft & it lead her kid to the malnutrition. The family lost all their hopes on how to bring up their child until they came in touch with our team of Medlife Foundation USA who is working extensively in the rural areas to spread awareness. The parents were briefed about the cleft in detail to give them a basic level of understanding by Medlife Foundation USA team. After proper counseling session to the family they believed that the cleft can be eliminated with a proper surgery which would be done free of cost by Medlife Foundation USA. The parents were constantly briefed about the process which helped them to decrease the risk factor as well as fear from their mind. The Medlife Foundation

USA rendered full support to surgery and post-surgery care of Sanjay Boyi.

There are many such children who are waiting for our help and support in terms of surgery and post-operative care. Medlife Foundation USA and its team look forward for extending all possible help in coordination with supporters to bring awareness in our society.

Hemang Dabhi

Cleft lip

Hemang Dabhiwas was born in a small village call NaniAbdoli, Gujarat. Hemang was not just like another child in his appearance. He was born with the cleft lip. Initially the parents and other people around did not pay any attention to the cleft deformity. Since Hemang was born in village only, there was no medical opinion that could have been shared with his parents. Hamnag’s father is engaged in labour work and mother is a homemaker. His father, Sankerbhai Dabhi, has got primary level of education whereas mother, Kantaben Dabi is illiterate. The parents of Hemang were not really happy as their child have an unusual appearance. They fear that as he get mature, the cleft will also get widened. To our surprise, they never visited a doctor to seek medical opinion by themselves nor have they been suggested by anyone in their village.

The village NaniAbdoli has population of hardly one thousand where primary occupation of people is agriculture and labour. The medical facility in the village was not upto the mark. Such environment never allowed them to get aware of the situation. They were never alarmed and accepted the cleft as part of life. Although there were few people who occasionally advised Sankerbhai and Kantaben to visit the hospital in nearest city Ahmedabad. But due to lack of knowledge and financial resources they avoided. They were also advised to get the cure from visiting different temples based on the myths.

Hemang, was playing around the bushes when the active field team of Medlife Foundation discovered him. They at once got in touch with the family. Initially the parents were reluctant because of lack of trust, but later when people from Medlife Foundation showed and explained them different cases they have treated, cons of cleft, how the surgery would take place and all, they started believing the team and facts. They were briefed about the challenges that Hemang might have to face when he would grow up with the cleft. It was bit difficult to convince them for the treatment as it was time taking and they could not see the long term effect of it. The villagers were also had no clue about what is being discussed, hence their advice was not affirmative to the family and certainly not helping the cause.

Later with proper counselling, Medlife Foundation managed to get parents on board. Their queries and concerns were addressed one by one including the financial part. We made them sure that not a single penny would be needed from their side for surgery and other treatments, if any. Finally, Hemang was admitted on July 5, 2018 and the surgery was done on July 6, 2018. Not only the parents, but the entire village is thankful to Medlife Foundation team for the job done. As of now, Medlife Foundation is taking full responsibility of the child in terms of cleft surgery and allied treatments. The Foundation is also planning to start the speech therapy for Hemang at appropriate time. And this time, for the therapy, the family was more than excited to see their child speak for first time…

JAY SHIVAJI GOHEL

Jay Gohel was born in Sanand, Ahmedabad. His birth brought more concerned than joy to his family. Jay, by birth has a cleft in mouth. The unusual appearance was not at all welcomed by his parents and relatives. Jay’s father is a daily wage labourer and mother is a homemaker. He was born on Jan 17, 2018. The appearance initially confused the thoughts of his family but later it took a different shape altogether. The close relatives and friends, who got hardly primary education, started blaming the mother for this. They kept her under stress that due to her bad luck that is being carried forward from her earlier birth was the sole reason of Jay’s abnormal appearance. Jay’s father, Shivaji Gohel was somehow not convinced with the popular theory around him and consulted the doctors nearby. In spite of the poor financial condition, he

managed to get the much needed medical opinion. However, at that stage, the cleft operation was not possible because of lack of required expertise. Jay’s mother was in under societal pressure, and at one point of time she started to believe the theory propounded to her.

During initial days after the birth of Jay, his father tried hard to find something which can cure the cleft but he was not getting the direction primarily because Shivaji is a daily wage labour and he is the only source of income for his family of five. A day that he spent time on his child means there is no earning for that day which may lead to no food for family. The cost was too high for other four members as well. Moreover there was not much encouragement to his efforts in the surrounding society and village. Jay’s father was still hopeful that with some extra efforts he would be able to get her son treated but being a sole support to family, he can’t move forward. But Shivaji has maintained the connect with doctors in the hope of treatment. Doctors advised him that for treatment, he need to move to Ahmedabad and get the surgery done but Shivaji, with his limited income was not in a position to bear the cost.

On the other hand, Jay’s mother, Hansaben Gohel was concern as she was not able to feed her properly. She was later told that due to this, Jay’s immunity power might also get decreased. She was feeling helpless at this point of time in the house made of mud and bricks. As Shivaji was losing his hope and accepting the reality of not curing his son, one of the nearby villager, shared this information and case to Medlife foundation. The people of foundation immediately came into act and started the process. They got in touch with the father, briefed him about the entire surgery that can heal his son. Moreover, Shivaji and the entire family were happy to get the financial support as well for the surgery which was major concern for them.

As of now, Medlife Foundation is taking full responsibility of the child in terms of cleft surgery and allied treatments. The initial check-up and reports have been done and the surgery would take place by the end of year 2018.

Ashvi Thada

Ashvi Thada was born in the village of Gujarat, India. Ashvi by birth was slightly unusual in her appearance. She was born with the left side unilateral complete cleft lip. Since the delivery of her mother, had been done at home only, the cleft caught the attention of parents and other relatives around immediately. People were surprised, as this was the first case of its kind in their nearby society. With lack of any substantial knowledge they started planting illogical stories of all kinds. Parents who were already in shock with the cleft of their daughter, started feeling more stressed by the behaviour of people. Moreover, Ashvi and her mother were already suffering from feeding problem. Parents were also concerned about the difficulties that may occur in future in her speech.

At this point, the parents decided to seek a medical opinion. Although it was a tough task for the family to seek a medical attention for their newly born child because of many reasons. First, Ashvi’s father, Mr. Kishor Thada, is a labour worker and mother is a homemaker. Her father, Mr. Kishor Bhai Thada, is a sole earner of the family of four. The fourth member of family is Ashvi’s elder brother. All members apart from Ashvi were medically fit at the time of her birth. The nearest hospital from the village is around 300 Kms and with the annual income of less than Rs. 60,000/-, taking the newly born 300 kms away was highly expensive affair for the family. Second, Mr. Kishor also cannot afford to miss his daily wages as this would mean that they might have to miss a meal. Third, the parents did not get proper education in their times, Father studied till 7th standard while mother was in school till 6th standard only. This limits their understanding of the actual problem and beyond. They even do not own their own house be it house made of mud or a house made of bricks.

The parents took Ashvi to a local medical officer at her maternal native place to get some kind of medical attention but, the advice did not meet their expectation. They got more confused having no clue what to do next. The officer inquired about the family history, any issues during pregnancy of her mother to get more insights but this was not helping. On the advice of relatives, they consulted in civil hospital as well. They were told get the operation done for the cleft. This has created another hurdle in the life of family as they have never witnessed such kind of treatment. Less income, lack of knowledge and no expertise around has already created enough mental trouble for parents.

At this stage our camp organizer found Ashvi with a cleft. Being an alien to the village and to the family, the manager found it very difficult to gain any kind trust of the family. However, the camp organizer was highly experienced in dealing such cases, eases down the situation and addressed all concerns of family and friends. Once he succeeded to convince both Mr. Kishore and Mrs. Illa, he briefed them about the treatment, its process and financial aspect. As policy, we ensured that the parents need not to spend a single rupee on the treatment or on the medicines of Ashvi. All they need to do is follow the medical instructions given by our doctors.

The family was brought to the Cleft centre. The family was happy to see the support and cooperation of the staff in the centre. They were more than please to get the much needed help. The surgery was done with utmost care and the cleft was no more visible to them. When parents saw Ashvi for the first time after the successful surgery, they burst into tears. Probably they were not expecting such a sight of their beloved one.

The family was thankful to the Medlife Foundation for their efforts even after the surgery as constant visits, check-ups and caring directions were communicated time to time. Parents are so happy now that they promised us to become a volunteer and help the centre in many ways especially if they come across any such case in their surroundings. After the surgery Ashvi’s parents also spread a word about the entire process they have gone through in their village and advised to get in our touch whenever any such problem occurs. There is no good sight better than seeing cheerful parents!!