PATIENTS with cleft and craniofacial anomalies no longer have to travel elsewhere to avail of free surgery as it is now available in a hospital here.
The United Davao Specialists Hospital and Medical Center, Inc., offers free surgical operations every Thursday of the week.
Dr. Dax Carlo G. Pascasio, MD, the team leader of the Filipino professional counterpart of Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, Inc. (NCFI), said this initiative will not only help patients get free treatment but eliminate transportation expenses, as well.
“You don’t have to pay for anything (hospitalization) on top of PhilHealth, for instance, if the cost of operation exceeds PhilHealth coverage, the foundation will cover it,” Pascasio said.
“We understand it can also be prohibitive, expensive for the patients to come here so even the transportation costs are sponsored by our partners, the NCF in Taiwan,” he added.
Pascasio said the funding of these operations, including the after-care, comes from the Taiwanese counterpart of NCFI along with the SMILE Train Philippines.
Free surgery benefits people from far-flung areas, he said, recalling his service in Manila that about 70-80% of patients who get treatment for the condition come from southern Mindanao.
The doctor added this to lessen the cost to the parents of children with such conditions as surgery can be as costly as P100,000.
Parents of children who have such conditions are advised to visit the hospital physically or send a message to their Facebook Page.
First free craniofacial surgery medical mission
A total of 18 patients with cleft and craniofacial surgery were accommodated in the first-ever free craniofacial surgery medical mission at UniDav Hospital.
The mission was not also limited in terms of age as the youngest they catered to was six months old and the oldest at 30 years old. It was not exclusive to Davao City, catering to those coming from neighboring regions.
Vilma Obian, a parent of one of the successfully operated cases is from Mati City, while Amira Alibonga, the mother of a 6-month-old baby who underwent surgery is from Pagadian City.
The five-day surgery mission from Nov. 19-24 is in partnership with Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation Philippines, Inc. Doctors, and nurses from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan participated in the mission.
“After this mission, we feel that there is a need to consider continuing healthcare in this area because we found there are so many who are left untreated,” said Lun-Juo Lo, MD, Taiwanese professional counterpart.
Lun-Juo Lo added that they hope to establish a relationship with UniDav Hospital to continue providing surgery to patients with craniofacial anomalies.
“ The NCF Team will continue the discussions with the local team here,” he added.
Lo stressed to the parents that they continue to seek assistance from the hospital as they will continue to give postoperative care such as follow-up checkups, comprehensive cleft care package, and speech therapy if necessary.
The pediatric dentistry and orthodontic team will attend to the children’s oral health to attain improved outcomes post-surgery. This includes correction and alignment of teeth and jaw, to enhance function and self-esteem of the patient.
NCFPI has been providing comprehensive treatment, continuing care, and hospitalization to patients with craniofacial, cleft lip or/and cleft palate since 2006, this mission is the first in Davao.
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