Zhangzhou, China

July 2012

One hour by bus from the coastal city of Xiamen is the beautiful city of Zhangzhou. These cities are directly west of the island of Taiwan, and at the same latitude as Key West, Florida.

For 2 weeks the Cleft Team to Zhangzhou was very fortunate to have Dr. Lui and his Cleft Team from Wenzhou, China join Dr. Hobbs & Dr. Worland from the USA. Three operating rooms ran each day with excellent support from the local hospital. Most of the surgical supplies were provided by the Zhangzhou Hospital.

Approximately 100 surgical procedures were performed on children, three months of age, to adults with cleft lip & palate defects.

One 23 year old university student came with a cleft palate which was very wide. She had not been treated previously. She had severe hyper nasal speech that made communication difficult, especially on the telephone.  Through the kindness of another Chinese doctor who spoke English, the local surgeon was helpful in assisting Dr. Hobbs repair her very wide palate defect. We were able to obtain a follow up photo 5 months later. The university student has now improved her speech in a major way with post-operative speech therapy. Learning how to speak correctly after palate surgery is difficult because in some ways it is like learning a new language.  Sounds they have never made before are now possible. These normal forms of speech take concentrated effort to learn. This lady is pursuing her speech therapy successfully. It takes more than a surgeon to get a normal functioning palate to reproduce correct speech.