Assam gets a reason to smile

Guwahati, Feb 1: Assam today gave itself two years to become the first cleft-free state in the country. Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced this at the launch of the first international mission of Operation Smile in the Northeast.
A team of doctors and volunteers from different countries is screening patients at the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital here. Surgeries will be performed on the children from February 1 to 6.
“We already have 400-500 children at the hospital but surgeries will be conducted only on 200 of them now,” Sarma said. The backlog will be completed in May. The state health department has offered MMCH as the venue for conducting cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries free of cost.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi said Assam could provide the best of facilities to international doctors and thanked the visiting team for doing a great service to humanity. Chairman of the India chapter of Operation Smile, Ranjit Barthakur, hoped it could become the first cleft-free state in the country.