By Spc. Creighton Holub, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div.November 17, 2008
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Seven-year-old Baneen Haydar Enad came out of surgery just minutes before the provincial governor, Aziz Kadum Alwan al Ogheli, arrived.
Ogheli was visiting Camp Dhi Qar, an Iraqi Army training camp and headquarters for the 10th IA Division, to meet patients recovering from cleft palate or cleft lip surgery Oct. 28.
The governor lifted the spirits of Baneen, as well as the little girl's mother, who said she was very pleased with the doctors' work.
"She will need some other (plastic) surgeries in a few years," said Wisan Fadel Guad, a native of Samawah and Baneen's mother. "She was already very pretty, but she is even prettier now."
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Div., assisted the 10th IA Div., and a group of Italian doctors to provide the surgeries for Iraqi citizens, who have cleft plate and cleft palate problems. The program, known as "Smile Train," is a multi-national program that offers free plastic surgery to needy people in Iraq and other countries across the globe.
The Italian Provincial Reconstruction Team working in the Dhi Qar Province led by Dr. Anna Prouse, brought the "Smile Train" into town.
"Plastic surgery is a very dynamic field," said Dr. Mike Bunning, the team's health advisor. "Health problems don't have denominations; health problems are a human issue."
The organization provided more than 359,000 free cleft surgeries in 75 countries since March 2000.
The Italian doctors have a dual mission of performing the surgeries and teaching Iraqi doctors how to perform the same work. Empowering the medical professionals will enable citizens like Baneen to receive necessary surgeries in the future from an improved Iraqi medical community.
Camp Dhi Qar is currently within the boundaries of COB Adder in Tallil.
For more information about donating to "Smile Train," visit www.smiletrain.org.