As doctors we face individual suffering on a daily basis, but we also know and appreciate the excellent standard of medical care in Germany. During our training and our scientific education we have worked in many different countries and medical systems around the world. Unfortunately some of these beautiful places cannot provide the same standard of care we are used to in the developed countries, especially for the smallest of patients. Therefore we began to work for humanitarian organizations independently even before we started our practice together to help patients with facial malformations such as cleft lip and palate, both home and abroad. As we continue to provide this service for the weakest and those most in need, we also count on your support.
2014 I joined my first humanitarian mission to to Coroatá, in the middle of the brazilian rain forest. The surgical team conducts free surgeries for sick kids and infants for already 20 years to provide a better quality of life for the small patients. It was organized by my friend and colleague Dr. Stefan Hessenberger through Interplast Germany, an NGO that provides plastic and reconstructive surgeries for people with aquired or congenital malformations in underdeveloped regions of the world, and carried out in cooperation with BigShoe, an organization that supports such missions during high-profile international soccer events in the respective host countries.
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From 2014 to 2016 I worked at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Craniofacial Center in Taipei/Taiwan as an International Craniofacial Fellow to further specialize in craniofacial surgery (the surgical treatment of malformations of the face and skull). During this time I joined cleft lip and palate missions to several asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia, which left a profound impression on me. I enjoyed being able to use my skills for the good of the small patients and be a part of a continuous and sustainable patient care in those countries. Aside from providing free surgeries, I also teach the medical personell through lectures and hands-on training during those visits.
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Although we are now in a busy practice and also Heads of our respective Departments in the adjacet HELIOS Klinikum, we will continue to be engaged in international humanitarian missions.
In March of 2017 we will embark on our first conjoined humaitarian mission, which is part of a project very close to our hearts: establishing a craniofacial center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Lonic was working in the Craniofacial Center of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and participated in cleft missions of the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation during this time. Back in Germany, he facilitated a collaboration between Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe and the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, initiated the project and coordinated the planning here in Germany.
From March 22nd to 25th, we will provide primary and secondary surgeries for about 25 children in the Odonto-Maxillo-Facial Hospital in Ho-Chi-Minh-City to help them lead a normal life. Following the principle of „Helping to help Yourself“, we will also educate local surgeons, anesthesiologists, orthodontists and medical professionals so that they can independently and constantly provide comprehensive cleft care for their patients.
We also want to contribute financially to the project. Even though we do not take any salary for the mission, we need financial support for medical equipment and traveling expenses for the children and their parents. By the way, only 250 EUR cover the primary surgery and the follow-up of the small patients. Therefore we would deeply appreciate any donations for our project! If you want to donate, you can use the bank details below or directly through the donation platform betterplace.org for the project „surgeries for children with cleft lip and palate defects in Vietnam“. Here You can dontate by creidit card or PayPal, and all fees are covered by betterplace.org. We guarantee that Your donation goes directly and completely to the project. Additionally, we decided that rather than sending out any Christmas cards, we ourselves donated 500 EUR for our project.
The Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation (NCF) was founded in 1989 by Dr. Samuel Noordhoff, who is also referred to as the „father“ of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. NCF provides an integrated and holistic treatment for patients with cleft lip/palate and craniofacial malformations and takes care of the social, financial and psychological support for them and their families. Furthermore, NCF supports scientific studies to improve medical care and positively change the public perception and social acceptance of cleft lip/palate patients.
Since 1998, the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation has spread its work way beyond the borders of Taiwan. NCF helps to meet the high demand for sustainable cleft care in Asia through medical missions, financial support, and education of the medical personell in their countries or in Taiwan via grants and fellowships. The teams conduct missions in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, Mongolia and the Dominican Republic and have taken care of more than 1,600 patients since 1998. Over 140 international doctors and nurses were educated in Taiwan and are now a vital part in providing medical care fro cleft lip/palate patients in their home countries
In the autumn of 2002, Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe was founded as a non-profit organization with the intention to enhance sustainable medical care for cleft lip/palate patients through local health care professionals all around the world. The most important goal is to provide surgical treatment on the highest possible level. Furthermore, a comprehensive approach for interdisciplinary cleft care is supported, ranging from patient and parent education to building a professional network of pediatricians, dentists, orthodontists, psychologists and speech therapists. Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe has been awarded the prestigeous DZI Seal of Approval and upholds activities in over 10 countries: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Peru, Bolivia, Ruanda, Uganda and Burundi. Since 2009 the organization provided 3,200 to 4000 surgeries per year for patients in need around the globe. Additional financial support was invested in patient education, treatment costs within the professional network, and education of medical personnel. Local organizations in the countries, partly founded by Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe itself, form the liaison on-site to facilitate the smooth organization of the demanding missions. The explicit goal is the help for self-help, meaning the development and foundation of local centers of competence, that are run by local professionals and perspectively finance themselves independently.
We would like to thank Dr. Daniel Lonic and his wife, Ms. Hanna Ohsaki as well as PD Dr. Dr. Denys Loeffelbein for becoming part of our organization and initiating our conjoined project in Vietnam with the renowned Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation. We look forward to the founding of new projects around the world in order to help children with cleft lip/palate malformations and bring together the know-how of international specialists on a global scale.
CEO Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe e.V.