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Founder of Operation Restore Hope (ORH) Dr Darryl Hodgkinson, Plastic Surgeon Dr Anton Fries and Director Grant Brown recently visited Dr Taps Gurango and her team at the Philippines Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) to review cases that the two organisations have been collaborating on as well as to screen new cases for future funding and surgery. ORH has been collaborating with Dr Gurango and her foundation, the Mijares Gurango Craniofacial Foundation, operating out of PCMC for over five years now.
This partnership was founded from the need to find a way to treat children with birth defects and deformities whose cases were so severe that they were ill suited to a mission environment. Prior to this it had been heartbreaking for the medical volunteers of ORH to have to turn away these children and their desperate parents as they could not be safely cared for in regional hospitals and without the ongoing care, follow up and expertise of a highly talented cranio-facial surgical team in a well- equipped centre. Even so, ORH has had to provide not only funds but equipment to make possible these complex surgeries. These funds have come from the Mill House Foundation whose support has been integral to this branch of the ORH’s programs for children with cleft lip and palate.
In the time that ORH and Dr Gurango and her team have collaborated, well over 65 procedures have been carried out including 7 rare full facial clefts, 12 meningocoeles, 2 cases or oro-mandibular hypogenesis syndrome, numerous wide cleft lips and palates requiring naso-aveolar moulding, hemi-facial atrophy, tumours and more. Private arrangements have been made and funding obtained for the housing and transportation of these patients, especially those from outside of Manila.
The need seems to be endless, having just screened 3 more meningocoeles in one day in addition to 2 more severe facial clefts and a wide assortment of other conditions but ORH’s commitment is strong. Support continues to come in various ways and means with members of the Philippine Australian Medical Association now fundraising for Amethyst and Sai Sai, the two little girls with oro-mandibular hypogenesis syndrome. Everyone can help these children and ORH’s other programs through raising funds, raising awareness or encouraging our volunteers by liking us and following our work on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OperationRestoreHopeAustralia.