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Capitol sponsors lip mission by US group giving Africans smile
« on: February 05, 2018, 03:01:19 PM »
Capitol sponsors lip mission by US group giving Africans smile (published by Bohol Sunday Post in September 2013)

The Bohol government led by Gov. Edgar Chatto sponsors a week-long lip surgical mission to be performed by a US-based group who gave many Africans a lifetime smile at the Borja Family Hospital (BCH) here starting today.

In consistent partnership with the Philippine Gift of Life (PGL), the province brings in the JP Clawson Medical Mission Foundation from Longview, Washington to perform free facial plastic reconstructive surgeries on cleft lip and palate patients who are poor and indigent.

The American humanitarian group helped world celebrated black prisoner and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela grant lasting smiles to his African people with lip deformities.

The Bohol mission, said to be the foundation’s first in Asia, is led by no less than the group’s founding president, Dr. Joseph Clawson, who is a diplomate of otolaryngology.

PGL President and Chief Executive Officer Francisca Baluyot thanked this early Clawson and his group while commending the administration of Chatto and Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim for sustaining the selfless partnership for the care and cure of the needy.

Herself a foremost humanitarian champion having also formerly administered the Bohol Red Cross for decades, Baluyot said two more major missions are set before yearend and early next year.

Both likewise sponsored by the province, these are the free heart operations by the Heart Foundation of the Philippines this coming November 19-20 and goiter, hernia, myoma and breast cyst surgeries by another US-based group, the Association of Filipino Physicians of Southern Illinois (AFPSI), on February 14-21, 2013.

February 21 is the birthday of the governor, who has been accustomed to providing surgical and medical missions on the special date as his birthday gift to Boholanos in dire health care needs.

The JP Clawson cures both major and minor lip defects regardless of the ages of the patients unlike the usual missions done here by different groups.

Chatto has a separate continuing year-round program for children with deformed lips, tapping the services of participating competent local hospitals, centers and doctors.

The Clawson group conducted free surgeries on children and adults with facial cleft defects not just in his homeland of Africa but Latin American areas as well.

The merciful foundation responded to the call of Mandela, the African leader who was formerly jailed for 27 long years for his diehard anti-apartheid crusade, to help his sick people.

Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, US Presidential Medal of Freedom, Soviet Order of Lenin and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

One African beneficiary of JP Clawson was a 31-year-old man from Zimbabwe who, after the surgery on his serious lip and palate deformities, found a woman he could not think would want to marry him.

In deepest joy coupled with extreme disbelief that a woman could love him and be his wife, he offered his would-be mother-in-law six cows for wedding endowment.

In the past 24 years, the JP Clawson also performed free harelip, cleft lip and palate operations on thousands of patients belonging to the underprivileged class in Ecuador, South America.

“Boholanos are fortunate to benefit from the group’s pioneering mission in Asia and Gov. Chatto deserves another pat on the back for the consistent mercy work in tie-up with the Gift of Life,” Baluyot said.
The JP Clawson brings in its own specialists and volunteer surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologist, orthodontist and speech therapist.

Baluyot likewise thanked in advance for the support of the Rotary Club of Tagbilaran District 3860 led by its president, Angelina Hoffman, Department of Health (DOH) thru Sec. Enrique Ona and Asec. Elmer Punzalan, and the mission’s host hospital thru its medical director and administrator, Dr. Belinda Borja and Dr. Pepe Borja, respectively.

She expressed equal gratitude to PGL chairman Dr. Ramie Cadag and his fellow officers, all participating local medical and health groups, and the private sector groups and individuals who have always been kind to the province’s mission program.

Apart from its main mission curing for free the people suffering from lip defects, the JP Clawson has given ancillary training to doctors at the University of California Davis Medical Center and US Peace Corps medical ambassadors to various nations.

By sheer coincidence, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, Jr. visited Bohol on Thursday and Friday along with the country directors of the US Peace Corps and United States Assistance for International Development (USAID).

It was Thomas’ first official visit to Bohol---and last to a province hosting USAID programs outside Manila---as he is leaving in weeks his diplomatic post in the Philippines for another assignment. (Ven rebo Arigo)     

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