ABMSS: Treating Cleft, Mending Smiles & Speech

Dr. Dushyant R Prasad,General Secretary

Dr. Dushyant R Prasad

General Secretary

The Indian sub-continent yields an estimate of 24.5 million births on an annual scale, with an incidence of seven in every 1000 children who fall victim to the congenital deformities of cleft lip and cleft palate. With complexities ranging from speech, hearing, and teeth formation, the problem goes beyond the most obvious disfigurement of face further extending to repeated infections, social stigma, difficulties in eating and breathing. With a noble purpose to return smiles to these faces, Akila Bharatha Mahila Seva Samaja, well-known as ABMSS, is a charitable organization(an NGO) established in 1993 focuses on providing free cleft surgeries and comprehensive care.

Conducting over 2500 surgeries operations annually across the country with around 50 percent being cleft palate, ABMSS’ vision reflects a strong belief that every child has the right to lead a dignified life. The organization has hence given cleft children that chance by gifting them simple surgeries. ABMSS primarily focuses on congenital facial deformities with Intensive Speech and Myo Functional Therapies
unlike others who offer a range of services. “These therapies bring-in a completely different dimension to the whole speech aspect. That is where we stand out in this area,” affirms Dr. Dushyant R Prasad, General Secretary, ABMSS. From their tailor-made speech assessments to utilizing Otoscope as a part of the primary assessment, the organization utilizes Ballovents and Face-formers that are indigenously designed in partnership with a prestigious university in Switzerland to morph the glum abnormalities of these children to a dignified future.

"Affiliated with the best surgeons in the field, ABMSS guarantees prolific contributions to aiding children with cleft lip/palate"

Ameliorating Speech with Curative Therapy
The organization understands the crucial need for availing specialized therapeutic techniques. Affiliated with the best surgeons in the field, it guarantees prolific contributions to aiding children with cleft lip/palate. Since treating cleft is not a one-stage surgical procedure, ABMSS subsequently insists on speech therapy encouraging cleft children to attend therapy sessions with experts to enhance speech and muscle movements in the jaw and other facial regions, channeling the right placement of the tongue and other speech-related propositions.

Taking it further, the organization facilitates lodging for those coming from far-off distances to provide them with 30-40 speech therapy
sessions for a period of 7-10 days. The Intensive Speech therapy and the Myofunctional therapy focuses on the physiological movements of all the muscles in the affected region. With full-fledged speech centers in Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Mysore, Bangalore, Agra and Patna, the center also sites 24 locations that provide surgery with speech consultants within hospitals.

Under the vigilance of Lakshmi Godavarthi, head of the speech therapy programme, every session is recorded and monitored by HD Audio-Visual systems for improving therapy standards. Otoscope, a primary assessment equipment and a customized software Speech Assessment that is an elaborate form of appraisal that records, sounds and muscle movement abetting treatment.

Growth Goals
Awarded with ‘The Best Patient Care NGO’ at the 2016 National CSR Leadership conference in Bangalore, the organization has also received the Persistent Foundation Sanman this year for best healthcare NGO and a certificate of merit at the World CSR Day 2018. With a PAN India status, ABMSS has partnered with Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe in Germany and Transforming Faces in Canada for extending its speech programs. Adding many more feathers to its cap, ABMSS envisions doubling its 24 cleft centers for surgery and further launch 10-15 speech clinics apart from its established six to mend many smiles while covering distant miles.