The Best Gift for Children Is a Smile!

The Best Gift for Children Is a Smile!

In the framework of the international forum “Women's Dialogue. Infinity Charity” held in the Republic of Bashkortostan there was a charity event Operation Smile aimed at helping children with cleft lip and palate. After 5 days of work of 55 Russian doctors and medical professionals from abroad 49 children were cured.

Operation Smile involved patients of different ages. The youngest one was only 6 months old and the oldest was 19 years old. This charity event is taking place in Ufa for three days already. It is held at the Republican Children's Clinical Hospital, the organizers of this programme are members of charity organization Operation Smile.


 This year 18 doctors from different subjects of the Russian Federation, an anesthetist from the USA and a surgeon Vietnam arrived to Ufa to participate in this charity event. There also were 35 people from Russian Children's Clinical Hospital who took part in it. All those participants are top-class professionals; they are professors and people with degree in medicine. They spend their vacation time to contribute to philanthropy by gifting smiles to children with cleft lip and palate.

For the first time Operation Smile was held in Ufa in 2014 with the support of Lilia Gumerova, who was the deputy prime-minister in the government of the Republic of Bashkortostan. Now she is a member of the Federation Council cooperating with the Ministry of Health of Bashkiria who was one of the initiators of the international forum Women's Dialogue. Infinity Charity and now is the vice-chairman of its organizing committee. “Projects in the name of good and helping children unite countries and peoples,” she said.


 Surgical service for children with cleft lip and palate is provided not only through this charity event but on a regular basis. According to Rustam Ahmetshin, the medical director of the Russian Children's Clinical Hospital, its doctors execute from 50 to 60 surgical operations per year. During Operation Smile having lasted from 13th till 18th of November, the number of children in surgical need is decreasing. Also such important topic as postsurgical care attracts attention of people. To inform people specialists organize workshops and teleconferences aired in the whole Bashkiria contributing to getting across this information for each citizen.


“Thanks to Operation Smile charity event, we now have the "room of kindness", where children come before the operation. There is a psychologist working with them and creating a favorable emotional environment, which consequently improves rehabilitation,” said Rustam Ahmetshin.

The postoperative period has some challenges even after successful operation, they are the first week after operation and further rehabilitation. In the framework of the charity event all the children after operation stay in hospital under doctor’s watch. The first stage is always successful. The difficulties come later, when the help of orthodontist and speech therapist is required. Not all families living in small towns can afford visiting Ufa several times a week for their child to attend these experts. But children need a year of more after their operation. According to Olga Kudamanova, the CEO of Operation Smile charity organization in Russia, the patient’s age is also very important. The best age for a patient to avoid complications in the future and to have a good speech is 2-3 years old. But that doesn’t mean that children of that age are the only group to be helped.


“We work with all patients regardless of their age and provide them with free help,” said Igor Wojciechowski.

Surgical help in removing maxillofacial defects is being provided according to the international standards of 2006. These standards are still being expanded by representatives of the global professional association on conferences, meetings and round tables. Operation Smile supported by Russian professionals and those from abroad helps exchanging experience and upgrading doctors’ skills.


“During three years we have learned a lot. For example, how to execute preparation of wounds to relieve pain and bleeding and stopped transfusing blood after the operation. Such things are being done abroad, but we didn’t do them in Russia. Also skills of our surgeons have significantly improved,” commented Rezida Galimova, the deputy of the medical director in Russian Children's Clinical Hospital in surgery.

Russian Children's Clinical Hospital is one of the most active medical institutions in the Republic of Bashkortostan which constantly takes part in charity events. Its staff is very scrupulous, sure-handed and creative. Medical director Rustam Ahmetshin always encourages their initiative and supports innovative technologies in medicine and lending soul to this job. He obtained gratitude of Valentina Matvienko, the Chairperson of the Federation Council, for long years of hard working and his great contribution to health care development in the Republic of Bashkortostan.


“Charity is the state of mind," he said.

Nowadays cleft lip and palate can be diagnosed at 12th-14th week of mother’s pregnancy. And that’s not a reason to give up your child. It will take much time, care and means to fix that, but happiness of motherhood and child’s laughter are worth all that. Many actors and singers used to have that inborn defect, but now voice and speech are their main tool. If a child is on time provided with high-quality medical aid, he can avoid unpleasant consequences of this innate disease.

“This is not a tragedy or a problem. It can be solved,” commented Olga Kudamanova.

Let’s gift smiles to those who need them so much. After all, a smile makes dull days brighter.

Polina Danilova, news agency of Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov