Australia sponsoring surgeries
for kids

DENPASAR, Bali: The Australian Consulate General in Bali is sponsoring 70 children from poor families in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, to have craniofacial surgery Friday.

Most of the children have cleft lips and palates, making it difficult for them to speak or eat. The condition can be addressed through surgery, particularly in young children.

If left unaddressed, the children will continue to suffer physical problems into adulthood. However, the high cost of surgery has prevented the children's parents from seeking treatment.

A medical team from Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar will carry out the surgeries, because the facilities necessary for the procedure are not available on Lombok. The craniofacial program at Sanglah Hospital has developed a close cooperation with the Australian Craniofacial Institute.

""This is a life-changing surgery made available through the Lombok 70 Project,"" Australian Consul General Bruce Cowled said in a statement.

With the assistance of the consulate general, under Bali's Direct Aid Program, the children will receive essential surgery toward rectifying their craniofacial conditions.

About Rp 36 million (US$3,789) in assistance for the surgeries will be channeled through the Bali-based Yayasan Senyum (The Smile Foundation). Major partners in the project include Rotary Indonesia and Yayasan Kita Peduli Lombok (The Care for Lombok Foundation). -- JP

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