Latest news from Cleft Bangladesh

20,000 Euro for Cleft Bangladesh from RTL Germany!

We are overjoyed and grateful to announce that the charity of German TV station RTL is supporting our work in Bangladesh with 20,000 Euros raised in a marathon 24 hour charity TV show for children in need. In the picture above, showmaster Wolfram Kons presents the symbolic cheque to DCKH CEO Andrea Weiberg in May 2022. The funds will allow our Bangladeshi surgeons to provide many more surgeries to cleft patients in Bangladesh. We say thank you! to RTL and of course the donors for making this possible!

Cleft Bangladesh celebrates 1458 surgeries in 2021!

Cleft Bangladesh is happy to announce that our experienced Bangladeshi surgeons were able to provide 1458 cleft surgeries to needy patients in 2021 - 1458 lives of cleft patients and their families changed for the better. This wonderful result would not have been possible without our Bangladeshi surgeons and their many staff, and of course all our donors, who funded the work. Many thanks to you all and we will continue our work for cleft children in 2022.

Training surgeons - to help more cleft children

Surgeons with specialist training in cleft treatment are indispensable to our projects. Training more of these experts is crucial so that we can keep treating more and more of the many cleft patients that go untreated. In Bangladesh, we are fortunate to have three surgeons receiving this advanced specialist training from our experienced Cleft Bangladesh surgeons: Dr. Mashfiquer (pictured, center) and Dr. Shantona (right) will join our team in Bangladesh as new surgeons once their training is complete, while Dr. Elmi from Somalia (left) will hopefully soon be able to begin offering cleft surgeries in Somalia. We wish them long successful careers as cleft surgeons!

Cleft Bangladesh mourns Nuruzzaman Khan Mitu

The Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe team is deeply saddened to announce the loss of one of our colleagues. Mr Nuruzzaman Khan Mitu, camp coordinator for our Cleft Bangladesh project, sadly succumbed to Covid in September 2021. He was only 37 years old. Mr Nuruzzaman Khan Mitu was very dedicated to our cleft work and helped to change the lives of hundreds of cleft children. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go to his loved ones and colleagues.

Covid protection for Mugda Med. College & Hospital

Thanks to our local partners, we were able to help thousands of cleft children this year despite the pandemic. The safety of our teams and patients has top priority. As part of our Covid-19 relief program, we support our projects with additional corona protective measures. On December 24th, we handed over pulse oximeters, oxygen concentrators, protective equipment and surgical masks to Mugda Medical College & Hospital in Dhaka. We plan to enable 1,700 operations for cleft children in Bangladesh in 2021.

Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe: DZI seal renewed for 2021

Careful use of the donations entrusted to us is one of our core principles. We keep our overhead costs low to be able to help as many patients as possible. We are very happy to announce that these efforts have again been recognized: The German Central Institute for Social Issues (Deutsches Zentral Institut für soziale Fragen, DZI) renewed for another year its certification of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe, the initiator of The Cleft Group, as a charity conforming to the highest standards in the transparent, efficient and responsible use of donated funds. This marks the eighth year in a row we have been awarded the seal - a wonderful confirmation of our work.

Cleft care in times of the Corona epidemic

Abir was born in October 2018. After his first birthday, Prof. Ahmed, one of our leading surgeons in Bangladesh, closes Abir’s cleft lip. Since Abir’s palate is also affected, he needs a second operation. But then the Corona epidemic brings a lockdown and an operation stop. Abir’s parents are desperate. The palate operation is very important: Abir cannot swallow properly without it. Feeding Abir is not easy for his mother. The pandemic makes the family’s life even more difficult. Now, Abir’s parents finally received the long-awaited call: Prof. Ahmed and his team are working again. The operation takes place. Everything goes well and Abir is able to return home with his parents, a ray of hope in these difficult times.

Cleft surgery training for young surgeons offered

To guarantee sustainability of the Cleft Bangladesh project, DCKH and OCA want to add two to four young surgeons from Bangladesh to Cleft Bangladesh. For this, Cleft Bangladesh launches an eight to twelve months specialist training program for enthusiastic future cleft surgeons. The trainees will get hands on training under our highly experienced currently active partner cleft surgeons and will also have the opportunity to receive international training. All interested young surgeons are cordially welcomed to apply for the training program. The application deadline is November 30.

Download all information about the application process and the training plan here.

Cleft Bangladesh thanks Shakib Al Hasan

Cleft Bangladesh is grateful to Bangladesh Cricket captain Shakib Al Hasan, seen here with Dr. Ulrike Lamlé of Deutsche Cleft and Cleft Bangladesh surgeons Dr. Muhammad Quamruzzaman and Dr. Ziaul Haque, for his support as a goodwill ambassador.

Dr. Zaman organizes food aid in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has been in a total lockdown since March 26. Countless people from all walks of life have suddenly become unemployed. To help these people, Cleft Bangladesh surgeon Dr. Zaman has sprung into action. In his garage in Dhaka, volunteers pack food for the needy, financed by donations from his international circle of friends and acquaintances. 1,200 families have already received aid! He intends to continue this work, since an improvement in the situation in Bangladesh is currently not foreseeable.

Patient stories

Toiong Marma's new start in life

Toiong Marma came to DCKH’s cleft center, LMRF Children Hospital Chittagong, in March 2019. She was born in Bandarban district with a cleft lip as well as palate, shocking her parents, Matui and Singnu Marma. No one in their family had this type of deformity before and this event distressed them. People around their area left oblique remarks to them and made them believe that Toiong got the cleft deformity because her mother Mrs. Matui did fish scaling during lunar eclipse while she was in her womb. Others believe in rebirth and believed that Toiong did some misdeed in her first birth and got the deformity as a punishment in her next birth.

They are from Marma tribe, one of the big ethnic groups in the country. Banderban Hill Track is around 60 kilometers away from Chittagong. In hill track areas the living standard is low. People have to live without electricity, the communication system is very rough, and people still lead a primitive life style. A few families can afford solar electricity. Most of the people from hill track areas do not have an idea about life outside the area. As Toiong‘s father said “I have never been in Chittagong city in my life before, I came here for my child’s treatment”.

Mr. Singnu and Mrs. Matui make their living through “Jhum” cultivation, growing crops in hill slopes, which yields very limited harvests. Selling Jhum crops, they earn 20-25 thousand taka (less than 300 US-Dollars) yearly. So they cannot afford cleft surgery for their child. “We wanted to have a correction of the deformity since her birth, but we could not afford the cost”, Mrs Matui Marma said.

An uncle who knew about free surgery and DCKH’s weekly camps at LMRF Children hospital gave them information about the center. At the first visit to the camp, Toiong got cleft lip surgery, and on 2nd July, 2019 she got her cleft palate surgery. Toiong's family are very happy with the correction and want to work as agents for changing lives of cleft children around their locality.

Toiong will come to the center for a follow up after three months. We hope all will be well with her and she will have a happy life.

Niloy Bormon's story

Niloy Bormon was born in a remote village of Tangail district. His parents were very sad to see a cleft lip deformity in their child. They had to endure a lot of negative remarks from family members and neighbours. They did not know what to do. But when they heard about our free surgical services, they brought Niloy to us. We explained the situation to them and operated on the baby. After the surgery they were extremely happy to see the immediate result.

Akib Hossain's story

Akib was born with cleft lip and palate. His mother was blamed for his deformity. Luckily, his parents heard about our Cleft Centre and Akib was operated, and the family now knows that Akib's cleft wasn’t anyone's personal fault. His parents couldn’t have paid the treatment on their own and are very happy about the free treatment. Now Akib can live a nearly normal life. He goes to school with the other village children. Only his voice sounds nasal and shows how important comprehensive care of cleft is. The goal of Cleft Bangladesh is to offer children like Akib speech therapy so they can live without any impairment.