Educating local physicians key to care of children with cleft deformities in Zimbabwe

October 22, 2007

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. This article was released along with articles from more than 200 other journals participating in a Global Theme Issue on the theme of Poverty and Human Development, coordinated by the Council of Science Editors. Presentations based on some of the articles in this Global Theme Issue will be webcast live from the National Institutes of Health (

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). Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: Please sees the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

More information about the Council of Science Editors' Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development is available at

More information about the NIH Global Theme Issue event, 10 a.m. (ET) Monday, October 22, 2007, is available at

For more information, contact JAMA/Archives Media Relations at 312/464-JAMA (5262) or e-mail

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