The Islamabad Cleft Lip and Palate Association (ICLAPA) on Thursday announced that the association will build a hospital here to treat Cleft Lip and Palate patients on voluntarily basis. It said this during a medical camp organized by ICLAPA attended by people from different walks of life.The ICLAPA, a body of volunteer doctors and social workers, is engaged in humanitarian task, hoping that philanthropists will come forward to help in the construction of this hospital. According to the press release, the treatment will be provided by a team of local and foreign doctors and will be free of cost. A group of dedicated doctors who treated the patients at the camp, pledged to continue to serve the patients so that they could lead a normal life. About thirty patients mainly children were examined at the camp, most of them had traveled from some far-flung areas for this purpose.Some of these patients will be operated upon next week at a local hospital. However, major surgeries will be conducted in the month of June by a team of Chinese and local doctors. “We are providing volunteer services to the patients for the last many years,” this was stated by the Association’s President M. Aftab and Mrs. Farhat Akhtar Rehman. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Azhar, leads the team which comprises of Dr Zahida Ahmad, Dr Ayesha Aslam and Dr Maidah Hanif and other junior doctors. Dr. Azhar also explained the complexity of the deformity and the treatment process.Association’s President said his organization had been providing free medical facilities to the poor families since 2004 with the support of families, friends and well wishers. Nearly 10,000 children are born every year in Pakistan with these deformities and, alarmingly, about 200,000 kids are waiting to be operated uponProf Farhat Akhtar said ICLAPA was a group of volunteers which relied on donors to bring hope and happiness in the lives of people, for whom it was financially difficult to give treatment to their children. This noble mission was initiated by her late husband Dr. Akhtar Rehman.Delay in treatment of the suffering children could lead to speech, behavioral and psychological problems making them vulnerable in society. Nearly 10,000 children are born every year in Pakistan with these deformities and alarmingly about 200,000 kids with these deformities are waiting to be operated upon. Cleft lip occurs more frequently than cleft palate. Boys are more commonly affected by only cleft lip or cleft lip with cleft palate whereas girls suffer more from cleft palate. The causes of cleft lip and palate are still unknown; however it is believed that it is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors or as a result of exposure to viruses and chemicals during the development of the fetus.Problems in eating or feeding, ear infections, hearing loss, speech impairment, dental issues and social isolation are also issues associated with such deformities. As planned, the ICLAPA will provide general paediatric and mother and child care facilities at the planned hospital. It will also offer physical and speech therapy needed for the rehabilitation of cleft lip and palate patients.