More than 100 children with cleft lips have had a successful surgical operation under the Operation of Hope Surgical Mission at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo.
The free services, which started on 7 May, were supposed to end on the 17th, but following the high number of patients requiring the surgeries, the Mission will be offering the services until 31 May.
In a statement, the Chief Executive Officer and President of Hope Worldwide, Jennifer Trubenbach said:
We have extended our surgical mission to the 31st of May. While our mission was supposed to end on the 17th of this month, we noted that many patients are in desperate need of this operation and we cannot just leave them like that.
… We have so far restored the smiles of at least 100 children after successful surgical operations since we started on the 7th of this month. We are targeting a total of 250 operations for this May.
Schweppes Holdings Africa Limited Corporate Affairs Executive Ropafadzo Gwanetsa said the company’s partnership with Operation of Hope has restored hope to many families. She said:
This would mean more children getting assistance. Our partnership with the Operation of Hope Mission has brought joy to families with babies with cleft lips or pallets.
Schweppes Holdings Africa Limited has partnered with the operation of hope for over 8 years.
Health care has always been one of our ethos through our corporate social investment. Babies born with cleft lip struggle to feed and society struggles to understand the cause of cleft lip.
According to the UK NHS website, a cleft is a gap or split in the upper lip and/or roof of the mouth (palate). It is present from birth.
The gap is there because parts of the baby’s face did not join together properly during development in the womb.
Problems related to cleft lip:
- difficulty feeding – a baby with a cleft lip and palate may be unable to breastfeed or feed from a normal bottle because they cannot form a good seal with their mouth
- hearing problems – some babies with a cleft palate are more vulnerable to ear infections and a build-up of fluid in their ears (glue ear), which may affect their hearing
- dental problems – a cleft lip and palate can mean a child’s teeth do not develop correctly and they may be at a higher risk of tooth decay
- speech problems – if a cleft palate is not repaired, it can lead to speech problems such as unclear or nasal-sounding speech when a child is older