OUR WORK > India 

India: our flagship project

Currently we are performing operations at more than two dozen locations in India. We are growing in both numbers of surgeries and in terms of quality, as the centers are increasingly able to offer full comprehensive interdisciplinary treatment of the patients. To further expand this effort, we are dependent on a steadily increasing level of financing.

The unmet need of help for cleft patients in India remains enormous. Surveys provided during the International Conference on Comprehensive Cleft Care in November of 2013 in Guwahati/Assam estimate that on average some 50,000 children with cleft lip and palate are born in India every year. On top of this there are an estimated one million people already living with cleft that have not yet had the operation, since large parts of the Indian population have no access to medical care. Approximately every tenth cleft child in India dies before its first birthday.

With the more than 2.000 operations and follow-on treatment that we can perform annually we are making an important contribution towards making high-quality cleft care available to every patient in India. And each operation costs a mere 250 Euro!

Join the effort!



Numbers of operations in 2017

Agra 162
Ahmedabad 145
Bhubaneswar 212
Kodagu und Bengaluru 190
Hyderabad 173
Mysuru 158
Patna 230
Surat 157
Vishakhapatnam 287
Raipur 114
Kolkata 42
Bhopal, Noida/Delhi, Goa, Katra, Jodhpur, Mangaluru, Mumbai and Pune 229
Total 2.099

Our local partner

The Indian partner organization of Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe is the NGO ABMSS (Akhila Bharatha Mahila Sema Samaja), which is based in Bengaluru. The trust is managed by Mr Dushyant Prasad who, together with a team of five colleagues, regularly scouts for new operating locations, sets and maintains standards of treatment, develops the educational effort and search for affected children and ensures proper documentation of treatments. ABMSS has a permit issued by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs to receive overseas donations and is accountable to it by notification through annual audits. The trust also raises donations in India itself, a process that is increasingly showing results. About 20% of the operations in India are financed through Indian donors - a great success!



Our centre managers

Agra / Uttar Pradesh: Dr Gaurav Gupta
The children that Dr Gupta operates on are mostly from the rural parts of the densely-populated and predominantly agriculturally structured federal state of Uttar Pradesh. With more than 190 million inhabitants in an area the size of the United Kingdom, Uttar Pradesh, along with Bihar, is among the most densely populated regions in the world. Dr Gupta's wife and parents assist him wherever they can - which enables him to achieve the large numbers of operations that he performs each year.

Ahmadabad / Gujarat: Dr Shyam Sheth
Dr Sheth is a passionate surgeon who treats the children in a calm and tender manner and absolves his twelve-hour shifts with a high degree of discipline and personal modesty. He spends many a Sunday on trips to the countryside of Gujarat where he conducts information events for affected families and examines the children on site.

Bhopal / Madhya Pradesh: Dr. Pramod Sharma
The industrial city of Bhopal lies deep in the heart of India and is known to most Europeans since the chemical accident which happened more than twenty years ago. Dr Pramod Sharma chose the hospital where he operates cleft children for us after intensive and careful research. He wants to treat the patients comprehensively, including orthodontics and speech therapy. The number of untreated patients in Madhya Pradesh is very high, not least due to the agricultural structure of this large federal state.

Bhubaneswar / Odisha: Dr Sthita Prajna Lenka
The cleft centre Bhubaneswar treats cleft children in Odisha, India's second-poorest federal state. The help is especially aimed at the indigenous population, the "Adivasi", who make up more than a fifth of the 42 million-strong population. They live in the forest areas of this mountainous federal state (up to 1,600 m) and often do not have any access to healthcare facilites. The cleft centre is located in the Sri Sri Borda Hospital in the state capital Bhubaneswar.

Coorg / Karnataka: Dr. Jayanth
Dr Jayanth operates in the Coorg Institute of Dental Sciences. The region lies among coffee plantations and rain forests. The children are from very impoverished families, their parents often working as day labourers in the plantations or rice paddies. The little patients are in the best possible hands with Dr Jayanth, the gentle surgeon manages every time to successfully calm them down before performing the operation. Half of the treatments in Coorg are financed by our Swiss partner organisation, the Schweizer Hilfe für Spaltkinder.

Hyderabad / Telangana: Dr. Vijay Kumar
Dr Vijay Kumar has been operating on cleft patients in Hyderabad for more than ten years. Since April of 2015 we have started to work together with the experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. In 2016 he realized 322 surgeries! Hyderabad is the capital of the federal state of Telangana, which was established in 2014, and is the fourth-largest city in India. Dr Kumar's patients are from the city, but also from far distant rural regions where medical facilities are not readily available.

Mangaluru / Karnataka: Dr. Naveen Rao
Dr Naveen Rao is an independent private surgeon in the city of Mangaluru and has been treating cleft patients in his practice for several years. With our help he intends to expand his activities in this area. It is against this background that he chose as the location for his operations a larger hospital whose management is open toward the idea of establishing a cleft centre for patients from poor backgrounds. We are happy to have Dr Rao on our team, a dedicated and experienced surgeon.

Mumbai / Maharashtra: Dr. Dr. Nisheet Agni
With its 30 million inhabitants the business centre of Mumbai is India's largest city. Dr Dr Nisheet Agni operates in the Navneet Hi-Tech Hospital, which lies in the north of the city, close to the international airport. He is one of the youngest centre managers, yet has great experience in what he does. In India the training to become a surgeon starts early and is usually completed without major interruptions. After completing the nine-year-long education he became a fellow (intern) at one of our centres and managed his time there with flying colours.

Mysuru / Karnataka: Dr. Manu Prasad
Dr Manu Prasad’s career as cleft surgeon started as assistant at the cleft centre Ahmadabad, later surgeon in Mangalore and Bangalore. In 2013 we were able to hand over to him the management of the cleft centre Mysore. The cleft centre is located in the St Joseph's hospital and has been working from the outset on interdisciplinary treatment. The surgeon, orthodontist, dentist, speech therapist, paediatrician and anaesthetist are all on one floor of the building.

Patna / Bihar: Dr. Uma Shankar
Some 100 million people live on an area just a bit larger than Portugal in India's poorest federal state. The state's capital Patna is the second largest city in north-eastern India, only eclipsed by Kolkata. Establishing a drop-in centre for families with cleft children here was something that we had wished for a long time to be able to do. Dr Shankar is not only hard-working and operating with great enthusiasm but also extremely reliable and an ideal partner for us.

Pune / Maharashtra: Dr. Samrat Sabhlok
The two cleft centres in Maharashtra are located in the cities of Mumbai and Pune and lie just about 150km apart. The centre in Pune was founded in 2015 and is managed by Dr Samrat Sabhlok. Even though Pune is a thriving economic centre, more than a third of its inhabitants live on less than €2 a day. That puts health insurance firmly out of reach for many of our patients.

Raipur / Chhattisgarh: Dr. Nirved Jain
The German oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr Dr Götz Ehmann discovered the plastic surgeon Dr Nirved Jain while visiting in Raipur and managed to bring us together. She is a true gem when it comes to surgery and is a great part of the team. Chhattisgarh, along with Odisha and Bihar is one of the poorer Indian federal states. Lots of cleft patients are from the still quite inaccessible forest regions.

Surat / Gujarat: Dr. Nehal Patel
Surat is a large industrial city, not far north of Mumbai. Dr Patel is not only an excellent surgeon, but also an accomplished organiser. Originally set out as a smaller cleft centre, the actual number of children operated on, most of them from the rural areas, is gigantic. Every year Dr Patel organizes a large number of information camps in the countries' interior.

Visakhapatnam / Andhra Pradesh: Dr. Siva Reddy
Dr Reddy is a first-class surgeon and optimally networked in Visakhapatnam. Local organizations assist him intensively with the educational work and in the search for the children. The patients are mostly from the rural areas of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, East and West Godavari and the neighboring mountainous regions of southern Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

Join our effort!

Please join us and support the effort to increase the breadth and scope of our treatment offerings in India. The Cleft Group is one of the main international organizations promoting and delivering comprehensive cleft care there. Cleft children need long-term support, with further treatments often being necessary until adulthood. Thus we are looking for long-term sponsorships to take decisive steps forward.