Lahore is the capital of the Punjab province. It is just a few kilometres from the Indian border. The Cleft-centre CLAPP (Cleft Lip & Palate Association of Pakistan) was established in July 2013 and has Prof. Dr Ghulam Qadir Fayyaz as its director. The first cleft operation was successfully performed on 15.07.2013. Prof. Fayyaz studied at the university of Faisalabad and graduated from the medical university of Vienna in his training for a D.S.S (Diploma Specialised Surgery) in plastic surgery. The purpose of this hospital is to provide free operations for children suffering from cleft lip and palates coming from the poorest parts of the community. To date 15,000 treatments have been provided in Lahore.
Every year approx. 160,000 children are born with cleft lip and/or palates throughout the world. Pakistan ranks in fourth place after China, India and Indonesia.
Multan und Karachi
Multan, with a population of 1.5 million, is the sixth largest city in Pakistan and is situated in the south of the counrty. The town is approx. 400 km from Lahore in the north. Prof. Fayyaz and one of his cleft surgeons regularly travel to Multan for a week where he operates on 80 to 100 cleft-children in the town's hospital. These missions save the children a long and often arduous journey to Lahore. In financial terms this has a positive effect because the parents and the children do not have to find the money for travel.
Karachi has a population of about 14 million and is one of the largest cities in the world. Karachi is a port city and is located on a plain on the edge of the Arabian Sea. Prof. Fayyaz travels with his team (5 surgeons, 4 anaesthetists and 3 OP assistants) to Karachi once a year where he operates on 300 cleft patients for a 7-day period in the local Aga Khan University Hospital (the youngest patient was 2 months old, and the oldest 86 years). Here the parents and the children are again saved the need to travel the long journey (1300 km or 17 hours by train) to Lahore.
The surgical team
Prof. Ghulam Fayyaz works day and night with his team comprising six cleft surgeons. They generally operate on three to six children simultaneously: they occupy three operating theatres with three to six operating tables. This hard work and the organised collaboration becomes obvious when one looks at the team's operation numbers.
Deployment in Afghanistan
Prof. Ghulam Fayyaz travelled to Afghanistan in April and September this year. He and his team operated on and treated 344 patients in the Estiqlal Hospital in Kabul. This mission was not without its risks, because Afghanistan is still in a state of unrest and still suffers repeated bomb attacks. To this date some 20,000 people have died, mainly civilians, due to such bombings and suicide attacks.
Prof. Fayyaz would also like to operate on cleft-children in Afghanistan in April and May 2016. The exact date cannot be stated yet. It depends on the situation in the country - because the safety of his people is a top priority. Furthermore, in the run-up the papers of team members are checked down to the finest detail which can often take many weeks and result in the team's schedule being delayed.
Support on site
In Lahore, Prof. Fayyaz works closely with the Lions Clubs and the Rotary Clubs. Unfortunately there are very few NGOs in Pakistan which support Prof. Fayyaz in his humanitarian work.