Effects of a long-term volunteer surgical program in a developing country: the case in Vietnam from 1993 to 2003

Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2006 Sep;43(5):616-9. doi: 10.1597/05-120.


Objective: This study evaluates the activities of the Japanese Cleft Palate Foundation from 1993 to 2003 in southern Vietnam.

Design: We assessed trends associated with patient age at first operation for primary lip repair and palate repair by using medical records of the patients.

Participants: This study consisted of 790 patients with nonsyndromic cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P).

Results: The median patient age for lip repair was reduced from 14.0 years in 1993 to 1.3 years by 2003. For palate repair, the median age was reduced from 13.5 years in 1993 to 5.0 years in 1999 through 2003. The age distributions of both lip and palate repair in the later years became smaller than the age distributions in 1993. The number of adult patients declined throughout the period.

Conclusions: The Japanese Cleft Palate Foundation contributed to lowering the age at first operation for CL/P and to reducing the number of adult patients in Ben Tre province, southern Vietnam. However, appropriate supports will be necessary to maintain CL/P treatment and to improve locally supported health care for patients with CL/P.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cleft Lip / surgery*
  • Cleft Palate / surgery*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Japan
  • Medical Missions
  • Program Evaluation
  • Vietnam