A surgical team that traveled to Zimbabwe successfully treated 39 children with cleft lip or palate, and an ongoing relationship with physicians there will help meet the needs of local patients, according to an article that will appear in the November/December 2007 print issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Annette M. Pham, M.D., and Travis T. Tollefson, M.D., of the University of California, Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, report that primary and secondary cleft lip and palate repairs were completed without complications. "The cooperation among the Zimbabwean administration, physicians and nurses was integral to the organization and successful execution of this reconstructive surgical mission," the authors write. "Ultimately, until the socioeconomic conditions improve in Zimbabwe, training and continuing education of local physicians are imperative to advance the care of children with cleft lip and palate."

Discussions of global health typically revolve around infectious diseases such as AIDS and malaria, but surgery should also be a key component of medical outreach efforts, writes Wayne F. Larrabee Jr., M.D., editor of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, in an accompanying editorial. "While solutions to these global epidemics are being vigorously pursued with scientific research and socioeconomic interventions, we would, however, make a gentle plea for programs directed to the victims of war and violence, children born with congenital defects and others who have diseases and disorders that require surgical treatment."

Arch Facial Plastic Surgery. 2007;9(6):(doi:10.1001/archfacial.9.6.qsp70001 and 10.1001/archfacial.9.6.qed70001

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