Local News & Events

Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

IFC Sponsors Cleft Palate Clinic and Surgeries

Janie Albright Blank - International Friendship Club
March 9, 2014

5 month old José Rodolfo

The International Friendship Club (IFC) announced that their next Cleft Palate Clinic and Surgeries will be held March 11-13, 2014.  The Clinic will take place on Tuesday at the IFC Clubhouse beginning at 1:00 pm where up to 30 or more families with children in the Cleft Palate program will gather to see doctors so that assessments can be done. Volunteers entertain the children with games and artwork and provide refreshments as the Clinic often lasts until early evening before all families can be seen.

Surgeries will be Wednesday, March 12. CMQ hospital generously donates two operating rooms as well as hospital beds for the patients in recovery. Depending on availability, surgeries are held at the CMQ on Basilio Badillo or CMQ Premier on Francisco Villa.

Our hard-working volunteer specially trained medical team flies in from Guadalajara for the Clinics and typically performs from 10 to 15 surgeries on surgery day. Thursday March 13 is the day for follow up visits at the hospital before the children are discharged.

Close to 200 children with cleft palate are enrolled in the program. Most children begin the program shortly after birth and are cared for until they have had all the necessary treatments and surgeries needed, typically by the time they are 18 years old. This program has been ongoing by the IFC since 1987 and amazingly, Dr. Fuentes from Guadalajara has been volunteering all these years without stop.

The IFC is incredibly fortunate to have some very kind volunteers who give countless hours to the program, both in helping these families and in organizing all the mechanics required to bring the doctors from Guadalajara, as well as coordinate the surgery rooms, nurses, anesthesiologists, medical supplies, working with the families and many other details that go into making this program run smoothly.

At this clinic a new infant, 5 month old José Rodolfo, will be introduced to the program. One day last December, Elly Rohrer, head of Investours, an innovative micro-loan organization in Bucerias, called IFC President Dan Grippo, who had met her the year before, to alert him to the dire condition of an infant in Bucerias. The baby was severely malnourished because he could not be nursed on account of the cleft palate. The parents, who are from Guerrero - one of the poorest states in Mexico - had recently arrived to the area, knew few people, and did not have funds to see a doctor.

IFC Cleft Program volunteers, including April and Bill Miton, Mary Carmen Bernal, Patricia Mendez, and others, immediately went to meet this baby and his family. With the invaluable help of Doctora Luz Meda Anaya, a dentist in Nayarit with special training in Cleft Palate conditions, there have been regular visits since December to make sure José Rodolfo gets the nourishment he needs to gain strength, and to provide the family with the training, nursing equipment, and support they need until the doctors can begin working with Jose Rodolfo this month.

The IFC is able to operate the Cleft Palate program in large part through the funds raised from the popular Home Tours and Botanical Gardens/Zoo Tours, as well as the efforts and support of nearly 600 member volunteers. For more information on the IFC go to International Friendship Club online.

The International Friendship Club is a registered charitable organization in Mexico listed as Club Internacional de la Amistad de Puerto Vallarta A.C. It is located at the northeast corner of the Rio Cuale Bridge above the HSBC Bank, Colonia El Centro, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, 48300. Telephone is (322) 222-5466, email is ifcvallarta@gmail.com.

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