AROROY, Masbate, Nov. 8 (PNA) -- At least 105 patient-beneficiaries suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate, and burns -- including one case of polydactyl hands -- will undergo a free pre-screening process prior to availing themselves of free reconstructive surgical procedures under the Operation i.Smile program of the Masbate Gold Project (MGP) starting Nov. 24.
They will be evaluated for final screening and undergo operations in January-February next year by doctors from the Interplast medical team, the program partner of MGP in this mission.
They will be assisted by local medical and paramedical professionals.
Interplast is a not-for-profit organization based in Australia.
It works to improve the quality of life for people who are disabled as a result of congenital or acquired medical conditions such as cleft lip and palate, or burn scar contractures.
It relies on partner-organizations to bear basic costs and facilitate the logistics and organization for these missions.
The MGP is now in its third year of implementing this project in coordination with the Department of Education, the local government unit, particularly the Masbate Provincial Health Office and Masbate Hospital. The project covers the entire province of Masbate, including Ticao and Burias Islands.
Last year, 59 patients with orofacial clefts and burns were successfully treated during the second run of its three-year program Operation i.Smile.
In a meeting with partners during the weeked, MGP’s Special Project Manager Florencio Cayco announced that among the possible beneficiaries, a month-old girl is the youngest while a 41-year-old woman may be the oldest.
According to Christine Mead, a volunteer nurse and the wife of Philippine Gold Processing & Refining Corp. (PGPRC) Vice-President for Operations, “Younger children make up the majority of beneficiaries of the surgeries because they have a better overall positive outcome from the corrective surgery.”
For her part, Masbate Provincial Hospital Head Nurse Sonia V. Espinosa said, “The project is a life-changing experience because patients who used to be like social outcasts have become confident about themselves.”
“In fact, many of them suddenly excel in their chosen fields,” Espinosa added.
The partners have also agreed to document the cases of the past two years and publicly share the positive changes this project has brought them.
Even if it has only changed one life for the better, the three-year I-Smile Project has already achieved its mission.
Two companies are involved in the Masbate Gold Project: Filminera Resources Corp. (FRC) and Philippine Gold Processing & Refining Corp. (PGPRC).
FRC, which is the holder of the Environmental Compliance Certificate, the mining tenements, and the surface rights, is the mining operator. PGPRC, which is a subsidiary of Vancouver-based B2Gold Corp., owns and operates the processing plant. (PNA) SCS/FGS/CBD