We currently have six Treatment Center locations: five in China in Jiujiang, Wenzhou, Harbin, Zunyi, and Guiyang; and one in Lagos, Nigeria.
Traditional international efforts to repair cleft lips and palates have consisted of small teams that perform surgical procedures to correct defects. However, the initial surgery only addresses one part of the problem. Cleft patients require ongoing treatment in the disciplines of dentistry, orthodontia, speech therapy and sometimes psychological counseling.
Yet, time and funding constraints typically make it impossible for local families to address those needs. Even if information, expertise and treatment were available, it would pose an impossible financial burden to the families of our target population, whose budgets are already strained meeting their basic daily needs for food and shelter.
We have established permanent Treatment Centers where patients can receive follow-up and ongoing care, utilizing the same treatment protocols established in the United States. The first Treatment Center was dedicated in Jiujiang, China in April 2007, and the second in Wenzhou in November 2009. The third center was opened in Harbin in 2011. The fourth and fifth were both established in the Guizhou Province of China: Zunyi in 2013 and Guiyang in 2014. In 2017, we established our first treatment center outside of China—in Lagos, Nigeria at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
Surgeons, speech pathologists, dentists, orthodontists, and social workers are each core service providers in the programs at these Treatment Centers. With continued support from generous individuals, foundations, businesses and groups such as Rotary International, AfS looks forward to expanding a its dream of establishing ongoing, comprehensive treatment for cleft children in developing countries all over the world.