China: Healthcare

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Dandan Men, 11 years old, is cared for by a nurse after she comes out of surgery. She has travelled over 100 km to receive a free Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate surgery today at Suqian People's Hospital.....Dandan Men is 11 years old and she is from Lian Yungang Country which is about 100 miles away from Suqian, Jiangsu where the operation is taking place today. Dandan Men was scheduled to receive a free surgery last year but she arrived late and missed her chance. This year she was the first patient to be operated on. Dandan Men is from a very poor family who live in a remote region on China. You can tell this by her age. Very few children make it to the age of 11 years old and still have their Cleft Lip and Cleft Pallets. Most children are operated on before their 5th birthday. Dandan Men is the daughter of an illiterate soy bean farmer. Their family income is less than US$300 per year. Her mother has a rare eye disease and is legally blind, and therefore unable to work. Her free surgery today, organized by Operation Smile, has given her a chance to live a normal life. There are an estimated 2.4 Million people residing in China with Cleft Lips or Pallets. On average, in China, 1 out of every 550 children are born with a Cleft Lip or a Cleft Pallet.