In February 2023, Dr. Remigio Roque traveled to Lambayeque, Peru for a weeklong surgical campaign with the Foundation for the Advancement of Cleft Education and Services (FACES). Founded in 2001 and based in Portland, OR, FACES partners with Hospital Belen and the Lions Club in Lambayeque, Peru to facilitate surgeries for cleft lip and palate deformities to medically isolated patients in Northern Peru. Health professionals including surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, geneticists, and speech pathologists volunteer their time and expertise to provide these surgeries free of charge. This initiative has become a recognized referral program for cleft palate surgeries throughout the region.
Over the course of six days, a team of 37 health professionals performed 42 surgeries which included 10 primary lip closures, 22 primary palate closures, 5 palate revisions, 4 bone grafts and 1 tonsillectomy, as well as 64 speech evaluations. The surgeries for 10 first-time cleft patients were sponsored by the community of Tabaconas, Cajamarca and organized by its social services director for disabilities.
The lingering impacts of the pandemic on health care resources forced Dr. Roque and the anesthesia team to be creative and flexible with patients. Despite personnel shortages, unfamiliar equipment and constant troubleshooting, the team carried out a successful surgical campaign with utmost professionalism and dedication.