Last month Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital hosted a wonderful visit for cleft palate surgeons from Minsk and Gomel. Olympus KeyMed generously funded the visit and Cleft surgeon Victoria Beale organised an extremely busy and informative week for the Belarusian visitors. The visitors were Vladimir Sannikov from Gomel and Oleg Yatskevich from Minsk, who are both cleft palate surgeons and Maria Zhilina who is a dental surgeon working in a cleft department in Minsk and acted as interpreter for the group. They observed a number of different clinics for children at different stages after their surgery, watched several lip and palate operations, and had long discussions with all the team in Manchester. They were able to see children visiting a nurse, speech therapist, psychologist, audiologist and orthodontist. They were so impressed by the skills and enthusiasm of the whole team.The surgeons now realise the importance of operating early – Manchester is taking part in an international trial to see whether it is better to close the palate at 6 months or 12 months – and we expect things to start to change in Gomel within the next couple of months. This child, being visited here by one of our psychologists, will be one of the first to benefit.