Press Release

March 21, 2013

Operation Smile UAE Kicks Off First Abu Dhabi Cleft Care Conference

The First Cleft Care Conference organised in Abu Dhabi by Operation Smile UAE will kick off tomorrow (Friday) and will offer attending Speech and Language Pathologist and Therapists from the UAE and around the region Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit hours from Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD).

The three-day vital cleft care conference, which is sponsored by Gulf Capital, the leading Abu Dhabi based alternative investment firm, will be led by two visiting experts from King Abdulla Medical City in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Al Basheer Hospital in Jordan. Therapists and medical practitioners attending the conference will enhance their current knowledge and experience with the latest information and findings related to cleft lip and palate conditions, based on the approved international standards and best practices.

The conference comes ahead of an international mission planned for the UAE later in the year, to offer children born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate free corrective surgeries and post operative care, where local and international surgeons, doctors, pediatricians, nurses, speech therapists and other volunteers from the medical and non-medical community will come together to change forever the lives of these patients and their families.

Operation Smile UAE is the initiative of the patron of the UAE chapter of the global Operation Smile organisation, Shaikha Aljaziya Bint Saif Al Nahyan, wife of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Morag Cromey-Hawke, Executive Director of Operation Smile UAE, said: “With the support of Gulf Capital, we were able to bring in our experts for this conference and to pull it together. Continued education for our local therapists and medical community is vital, ahead of our next free surgeries mission in the UAE. Some of the delegates will be volunteering in the planned UAE mission later this year. The conference is also important as it fulfills one of the criteria of our work, which is sustainability. Wherever we implement our projects, we want to leave behind an expanding group of medical professionals that is equipped and willing to carry the torch for placing a smile on the faces of these young children. We are also excited to hear that the conference participants will now receive the CME credit hours from HAAD.”

Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital, said: “Healthcare and education are two key pillars of our corporate responsibility programme. This conference fulfills our objectives and offers the end benefit to children born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate and who need post-operative support. We are delighted to sponsor this CME conference which will equip Speech and Language Pathologists and Therapists from the UAE and around the region with the latest information, knowledge and tools and help raise the bar in future follow-up treatments. This is a collective effort to offer children born with cleft lift and cleft palate, not just free surgery and a new smile but, more importantly, a new way beginning, and Speech and Language therapy is part of that.”

Conference participants will receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit hours from the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD). CME is a key requirement of HAAD to reach Abu Dhabi’s vision towards excellence in healthcare through continuous improvement of education of health care professionals and incorporation of new knowledge to improve quality of health care services.

Oruba Odeh M.A., a leading speech and language expert from King Abdulla Medical City in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will lead the conference. Oruba has extensive knowledge in developing SLP materials in both English and Arabic. Essential input will be provided by Dr Mahmoud Bataineh, Head of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Al Basheer Hospital in Jordan who is also the Medical Director of Operation Smile Jordan.

Topics covered at the conference will include basic concepts of cleft lip and palate disorders, common hearing and feeding problems, clinical assessment, screening and evaluation methods, possible causes of developmental speech and language problems and detailed methods of improvement for cleft patients.

Tomorrow’s conference will be the first of many which will highlight different areas and specialties in the continued care of cleft patients, such as dentistry, plastic surgery, nursing care and anesthesiology.

 To register interest in attending this month’s conference please contact:

Dr. Rana Ismail at Operation Smile UAE’s Office.
Office:  009712 658 4790