KPJ Kuching, Sarawak GH and RMHC Malaysia Unite to Give the Children of Sarawak a ‘Gift of Smile’
KUCHING, 24 July – KPJ Kuching Specialist Hospital (“KPJ Kuching”), Sarawak General Hospital (“Sarawak GH”) and Ronald McDonald House Charities Malaysia (“RMHC Malaysia”) are pleased to announce their joint initiative, the ‘Gift of Smile,’ aimed at bringing hope and joy to the children of Sarawak born with cleft lip and palate.
Cleft lip and palate are congenital anomalies that significantly impact a child’s appearance, speech and ability to eat properly. In recognition of the challenges faced by these children, KPJ Kuching, Sarawak GH and RMHC Malaysia have come together to create a transformative programme addressing their unique needs.
The ‘Gift of Smile’ initiative provides a comprehensive range of services tailored to each child’s requirements. These services include specialised surgeries, speech therapy, dental care, psychosocial support, and access to educational resources for both the children and their families.
The ideal age for cleft lip and palate procedures can vary depending on several factors. As a general guideline, cleft lip repair is typically recommended between three to six months of age, allowing for optimal healing and normal development of the lip and nose. Palate repair, also known as cleft palate repair, is usually performed between nine to 18 months of age to minimise speech difficulties and improve feeding abilities.
A total of twenty children will be identified by Sarawak GH and evaluated by RMHC Malaysia to determine their eligibility to receive sponsorship and assistance in undergoing various corrective procedures.
This initiative is guided by a commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (“UNSDGs”), contributing to several goals, including Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals. By addressing the health needs of these children and providing inclusive and equitable access to care, the collaboration between KPJ Kuching, Sarawak GH, and RMHC Malaysia is actively working towards a more sustainable and compassionate society.
The initiative was officially launched by YB Dato Sri Professor Dr. Sim Kui Hian, Deputy Premier of Sarawak and Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government. Distinguished guests including (Puan) Norhaizam Mohammad, Officer In Charge of KPJ Healthcare; Dr. Richard Wong, Board Member of RMHC Malaysia; and Dr. Ngian Hie Ung, Director of Sarawak Government Hospital, were also in attendance.
The primary goal of the ‘Gift of Smile’ initiative is to restore children’s confidence and enable them to lead normal lives. Free surgeries will be provided to enhance their physical appearance, speech, oral health, and overall quality of life, resulting in smiles and positive transformations.
“This collaboration reflects our commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of children with cleft lip and palate,” said (Puan) Norhaizam Mohammad, Officer In Charge of KPJ Healthcare. “To the children and families who will benefit from the ‘Gift of Smile’ programme, I want to assure you that you are not alone on this journey. We stand by your side, ready to provide the care, support, and guidance you need every step of the way. Your smiles and happiness are our greatest motivation.”
“This joint effort aligns perfectly with KPJ Healthcare’s motto of ‘Care for Life’ and commitment extends beyond providing immediate care. We are dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable future for all. By embracing the UNSDGs, we can contribute to broader global efforts to address social, economic, and environmental challenges,” emphasised Norhaizam.
YB Dato Sri Professor Dr. Sim Kui Hian, Deputy Premier of Sarawak and Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government, expressed his support for the initiative and said, “The ‘Gift of Smile’ campaign aims to foster understanding, acceptance, and inclusion for individuals with cleft lip and palate in our society. By dispelling myths and prejudices, we strive to build a more compassionate and empathetic community.”
The collaboration between KPJ Kuching, Sarawak GH and RMHC Malaysia represents a significant stride towards improving the lives of children with cleft lip and palate. Together, they aim to create lasting positive change, fostering a brighter future for these children and empowering them to thrive socially and physically in their daily lives.