OPERATION of Hope began cleft lip and cleft palate screening on Sunday at Harare Central Hospital following 48 successful surgeries in Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Targeting about 60 patients at Harare Hospital, this program supported by Schweppes Zimbabwe and Harare Central Rotary Club will take about a week.
Speaking to journalists, Harare Hospital Clinical Director Dr Christopher Pasi said they do these operations at their hospital but usually end up with a huge backlog.
“This program is important for us because this deformity that babies are born with cleft lip and cleft palate is very common. And although we do operate on our usual list we always end up with a backlog of about a 100 patients every year,” he said adding that, “We hope that this program will be able to operate up to maybe up to 40 to 60 patients,”
Operation of Hope Chief executive Jeniffer Trubenbach said this was their 28 th mission in the country.
“We have been in Zimbabwe since 2006 here at Harare Central Hospital. This is our 28 th mission here at Harare Central Hospital. So it’s our home. We return every year because the hospital welcomes us and allows us to do the surgeries that we want to do,” she said.
She added that the Mpilo mission went as expected doing 48 complex surgeries.
“The turnout in Mplio was wonderful. We did 48 surgeries but they were complex surgeries and they took between three and four hours. So we are not interested big numbers. We look at can we do in life of the patients so they can go to school, to church,” said Trubenbach.
A 19 year old patient coming for the first time for screening will receive a surgery.
“My name is Learnmore Kudakwashe Nengomasha. I came all the way from Honde after I received a message from Econet. This is my first time and I am excited to be getting this surgery,” he said.
Nengomasha encouraged others with a similar condition never to miss an opportunity like this when it turns up.