GUWAHATI, Feb 23 – “Medical care and treatment to the poor and needy segments of the society is the motto of our government. We will continue to work relentlessly till our avowed goal is achieved,” said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on the commemoration ceremony of 5000 cleft-lip and palate surgeries at the Operation Smile Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre at Mohendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital at Panbazar today, stated an official press release.
Terming the completion of 5,000 cleft-lip surgeries at the centre as a ‘great success’, Chief Minister Gogoi complimented the entire team consisting of visiting and local doctors, para-medics and nurses, founder, Operation Smile International, Dr William P Magee, Health Minister, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma and chairman, Operation Smile, India, Ranjit Barthakur for the wonderful team work resulting in tremendous success of Operation Smile in Assam. “The manner in which the team has been carrying the work on a missionary zeal, the day is not far off when Assam will become a completely cleft-free State,” added Gogoi.
Gogoi said that his Government has been according top-priority to the health sector and has initiated a slew of schemes to bring about improvement in the health firmament. “Health sector is of paramount importance without which no state or society can forge ahead. We have taken quite a good number of schemes aimed at providing medical care and treatment to the deprived sections, especially the poor and downtrodden. As a result the health scene has improved over the last couple of years. However, much remains to be done, especially in reduction of maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate in which we are below the national average,” he said.
Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated the newly-renovated Operation Smile patient ward at MMCH.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said the successful completion of 5,000 cleft surgeries in the State was a momentous occasion and lavishly praised the entire team for the sheer hard work and painstaking efforts they have put in. “The way we are marching forward we will be able to achieve our Chief Minister’s vision of a cleft-free State in the near future,” he said, adding, “our mission is not only a cleft-free, but also children disease-free State.”
Terming ‘Health for All’ as the mission of the government, Sarma said, “In 60 years we have had only three medical colleges, but now in a short span of time we have three new ones at Jorhat, Barpeta and Tezpur, besides two more coming up in Diphu and Kokrajhar. Our aim is to have one medical college at every district headquarters. And this we will be able to achieve.”
Earlier, the chairman, Operation Smile, India, Ranjit Barthakur while complimenting the entire team for the success of the programme in Assam, said: “No where else in the country but in Assam the cleft-free mission has been a tremendous success. It has brought smiles to 5,000 children and their families and that’s no mean achievement. However, we have to look ahead to the challenges ahead in providing treatment to 10,000 children with cleft deformities in the country in the next two years.” Barthakur, the driving force behind the mission, said the time has come to think globally, act locally. Mission Director, NRHM, Assam, Prateek Hajela and founder of Operation Smile, Dr. William P Magee also spoke on the occasion. Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro), Ashutosh Agnihotri was also present.