OPERATION of Hope has commenced cleft lip and cleft palate SCREENING sessions at Harare Central hospital, pending surgeries which will run up to Friday 25, May 2018, amidst indications that not less than 55 operations will be conducted over the period.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking to HealthTimes, Operation of Hope president Jennifer Trubenbach said the response to the call for screening has been overwhelming and they were expecting more numbers to come through in the course of the week.
“At least as we speak, we have screened not less than 35 although some people are still coming through. We are looking at screening about 55 to 60 before we commence surgeries next week and the surgeries will run up to Friday.
“Screening is being done to people from all age groups, however as for babies it varies. If the baby has cleft palate, she/he has to wait until she is at least 18 months. As for cleft lip, the baby has to be a month old and above,” said Trubenbanch.
She added that they conducted 50 surgeries at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo and many people’s lives were transformed including a 31 year old male whose nose had been broken in a road accident.
There are many causes of cleft lip and palate. Problems with genes passed down from one or both parents, drugs, viruses, or other toxins can all cause these birth defects. Cleft lip and palate may occur along with other syndromes or birth defects.
Elizabeth Sithole from Gokwe and mother to a baby girl said her daughter had to be rescheduled for surgery to a later date because she was still young.
“I am from Gokwe, i saw a message about these surgeries and i said i want to go there (sic) . My daughter has been screened but as for surgery, the doctors say i have to wait to at least August since she is young.
“She is three months and three weeks old,” said Elizabeth.
Another lady Mrs Nkazana Nhemachena from Chivhu expressed joy of the news that her daughter had been booked for surgery for a palate surgery.
“I heard from the radio that Operation of Hope would be here so i traveled from Chivhu so that i would be early for my booking.
“My daughter is six years old, i am glad after her surgery she might gain back her self esteem as she had been having a torrid time with bullies in school who call her names of all sorts,” said Mrs Nhemachena.
Meanwhile, Schweppes Zimbabwe partnered Operation of Hope to provide food and beverages for close to 150 people who came for the cleft lip and palate screening at Harare hospital.
“Health and child care are some of our major Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities here in Zimbabwe. Cleft and Lip and Palate are both health conditions that need attention and as you can see, the most affected are children.
“As an organisation we have a role to play to ensure children grow up free of any ailment of diseases that may compromise their growth,” said Unaisa Nyikadzino from Schweppes Zimbabwe.