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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

Cleft Congress 2017: An opportunity to showcase

1 Department of Plastic Surgery, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Burns, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery, Safdarjung Hospital and VMMC, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication2-May-2017

Correspondence Address:
Divya Narain Upadhyaya
B-2/128, Sector – F, Janakipuram, Lucknow - 226 021, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jclpca.jclpca_14_17

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How to cite this article:
Upadhyaya DN, Agrawal K. Cleft Congress 2017: An opportunity to showcase. J Cleft Lip Palate Craniofac Anomal 2017;4:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Upadhyaya DN, Agrawal K. Cleft Congress 2017: An opportunity to showcase. J Cleft Lip Palate Craniofac Anomal [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 Oct 16];4:1-2. Available from: https://www.jclpca.org/text.asp?2017/4/1/1/205405

The field of cleft care has attracted great attention in the last two decades or so, due, in no small part, to the advent of several charities willing to fund free cleft surgeries for the children with cleft in the low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The specialty has seen great evolution and diversification of surgical techniques and standards of care as well as convergence of several specialties as well as organizations involved in cleft care. Moreover, this change is not only exclusive to the LMIC but has also touched the developed nations. Specialists and medical organizations in the developed part of the globe realized several years ago the need to define standards of care and to lay down the scientific principles governing cleft care. This has been possible due to several large clinical studies and trials and has involved specialists from differing backgrounds converging together for one simple aim – quality cleft care delivery. The field has also expanded to gently incorporate craniofacial clefts and other deformities of the craniofacial skeleton in its ambit. Thus, the specialty has not only expanded but also converged in terms of the wide variety of specialists, care providers, and organizations coming together under one common umbrella of cleft and craniofacial care. Despite the great advances in the field of cleft care, delivery of this care remains a problem.

With an estimated population of 1.27 billion in India and an estimated 25 million births per year, there are roughly 35,000 children born with clefts each year. Inequalities of access to care and quality of cleft care with distinct differences in urban versus rural areas and accumulation over the years of unrepaired clefts make this a significant health-care problem in India as well as other LMICs. As we continue to evolve better ways to care for the patient suffering from orofacial clefting, a larger problem stares us in the face – delivery of this care to the last person. It is this great vacuum which has been so elegantly addressed by the several cleft charities that have come up in the last decade. At the last count, there were at least more than five or six large cleft charities operating in India, the largest presence being that of smile train.

Besides adequate funding through these cleft charities, great technological advancements in the Information Technology and Health Sector has meant greater awareness, regarding the actual burden of the cleft disease that we face. Globalization has meant that experts from various countries and various specialties can now come together frequently and easily and share ideas and develop cleft protocols to best suit the needs of the patient. Cleft care delivery and optimization of funding and resources have also been discussed at various academic meetings concerned with cleft care. Protocols have been criticized, achievements lauded, youngsters encouraged to take up research and charity work, and seniors have been nudged gently to pass on the mantle. All these have led to a great humdrum in the recent years in the field of cleft and craniofacial surgery. We are also witnessing the passing of an era, with the first generation of cleft and craniofacial surgeons now all well past their retirement and their protégés well on their way.

Hence, much has been achieved and much more remains unachieved. The passing on of the baton and the intermittent stirring of the academic cauldron must occur at regular intervals to keep this field in gear.

Such an academic stirring was recently witnessed at Mahabalipuram in India, at the International Cleft Congress 2017 which was a joint meeting of the 13th International Congress of Cleft Lip and Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies and 16th Annual Meeting of Indian Society of Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial, a veritable coming together of national and international luminaries and legends in the field of cleft care. The meeting saw several animated discussions, inspired orations, and free paper sessions. The meeting was also unique due to the presence of several cleft charities that were all partners in the organization of the Congress. The Congress served to the participants, a heady mixture of business, academics, and pleasure. Attended by over a thousand delegates from across 81 countries, the Congress had over 320 oral paper presentations and 263 e-poster presentations during the 3 days of the main conference. It had three prestigious orations delivered by stalwarts in the field of cleft surgery and had breakaway sessions running across seven parallel halls simultaneously. A unique touch was the “Meet the Masters” session where the delegates got to meet and discuss cases with luminaries in the field in an informal manner. The Congress saw six-panel discussions during the main conference days preceded by seven continuing education programs during the preconference day. The delegates and faculty deliberated, discussed, and debated all aspects of cleft care, amply supported by their business and nongovernmental organization colleagues.

Cleft 2017 Congress gave an opportunity to showcase the Indian research and clinical work to the international community. The successful organization of such an event, lauded by one and all, was befitting to the concept of “Incredible India.” The audiovisual communication and information systems were at their very best. The evening extravaganza and culinary showcased the spirituality and diversity of the Indian culture.

We are sure the academic dividend earned and the lessons learned at such conferences will go a long way in helping our patients and in marching this specialty forward toward the heights of academic and research excellence. The journal expects some great inputs in the future from the learned academicians and young surgeons who attended the conference. We hope that the academic spirit that the conference kindled will translate itself into excellent papers which shall, in the future, appear in your journal.


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