Starting these camps in 1990, BJS has so far restored smiles on the faces of over 300,000 persons comprising children, youth and old from different parts of India by operating on them and giving them a normal physical look to lead a normal life overcoming physical deformity and social stigma.
Every day there are about 72,000 births in India. Surveys show that in every 962 babies that are born in India, one is born with a deformity. Children born with cleft lip, squint eyes or facial scars form a high percentage of total birth deformities. The most prevalent method to treat such deformities is to undergo plastic surgery or corrective surgery. Considering these statistics, one would think that there are hundreds of plastic surgeries being performed in India. That, sadly, is not the case.
In India, an infant born with a cleft lip or other facial deformities is considered a curse to the family. Many families, especially the underprivileged classes, have to live as outcasts and suffer social stigma. The primary reason why people do not get treated despite harbouring a wish to do so is the cost of such surgeries, which is well beyond the reach of the economically weaker section of society. The people who are worst hit are those living in the rural areas, who neither have the money for such expensive surgeries nor is there the required infrastructure for such surgeries. Deformities like cleft lip, facial scars or squint eyes is a mental agony for girls of marriageable age.
Moreover, only a few medical students in India opt for plastic surgery as a career in medicine, leading to a dearth of good plastic surgeons in the country. To compound the complexity of the problem, there is a lack of appropriate awareness mechanisms at the level of the individual as well as at the level of the prevailing health care system. Especially in rural areas, people lack awareness that these deformities can be cured through plastic procedures and people can live a normal life.
BJS’ free plastic surgery camps commenced in the year 1990 as a result of the visionary thinking and inspiring social commitment of Shri Shantilal Muttha in visualizing this problem and its adverse impact on a large social segment.
BJS launched this initiative with the help, association & participation of late Padmashree Dr. Sharad Kumar Dikshit, a world-renowned plastic surgeon based in the USA who visited India every year and carried out the surgeries along with his associate doctors who travelled with him. Dr. Dikshit passed away in 2011, but his team of doctors resolved to carry on with exemplary participation & contribution every year.
The objective of its free plastic surgery program is to support individuals to overcome congenital deformities and related social stigma and help them live a life of dignity and confidence. The objective relates to addressing the social stigma faced by a large number of persons who are born with the various types of ingrained physical, facial and ophthalmic disorders by arranging medical and infrastructure support through camps.
On average, BJS’ medical camps report around 800 medical checkups and about 500 surgeries per camp, a unique activity in itself. BJS also arranges for preliminary tests that are required before the medical surgeries, and post-operation assistance with free medicine etc.
The free plastic surgery camps continue to be organized by BJS every year with the help & dedication of doctors. Starting with 2-4 camps in a year, the number of such camps have gradually increased to double-digit figures as high as 24 such camps in a year.
Cleft lip (cheiloschisis) and cleft palate (palatoschisis) is a type of clefting congenital deformity caused by abnormal facial development before birth. A cleft lip is formed in the top of the lip as either a small gap or an indentation in the lip or it continues into the nose.
A cleft palate is a condition in which the two plates of the skull that form the roof of the mouth are not completely joined. Palate cleft can occur as a cleft in the soft and hard palate, possibly including a gap in the jaw or as a 'hole' in the roof of the mouth. Infants with these deformities are unable to suckle milk. The food comes out through the nose due to the absence of the palate. Cleft palate occurs in about one in 700 live births worldwide.
Squint is a misalignment of the two eyes so that both eyes are not looking in the same direction. A child who has developed a squint does not use the affected eye to see the object. The consequences are harmful to eyes and can lead to visual loss.
Facial scars in children often act as the source of low self-esteem. It has the potential to bring about negative impacts on their social life, especially for a girl.BJS has been organizing free Plastic Surgery Camps since the year 1993. So far about 3 Lakh surgeries have been performed on affected children and they are now leading a respectful life.
BJS acknowledges the immense contribution made by the donors, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and volunteers in this noble cause which is now taking a shape of a movement.
Since 1993, BJS along with the world renowned Indian born American Plastic Surgeon Late Dr. Sharadkumar Dicksheet, has been organizing Free Plastic Surgery Camps for facial deformities in underprivileged children, giving smiles to thousands of faces. Till 2011, over 2 Lakh Plastic Surgeries were conducted by him. A multiple nominee for Nobel Peace prize, he was honored by the Government of India, in 2001, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of "Padma Shri". As a tribute to him, BJS continues to conduct these camps with the help of his associate doctors.
Dr. Raj Lalla and his team regulerly conduct such camps in five locations from Maharashtra like Kolhapur, Sangamaner, Ahmednagar, Resod and Aurangabad.
Dr. Larry Weinstein, Dr. Barry Citron, Dr. Whitney Pafford, Dr. Laurence Brenner and his team regulerly conduct such camps at three locations – Pune, Nagpur, and Delhi.
Dr. Supriya Dicksheet and his team regulerly conduct such camps at Indore and Jaipur.