Children in the Eastern Cape with a cleft lip are smiling again

Dignity and smiles were restored when Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth and Prime Minister Oscar Mabuyane watched life-changing surgeries for children with birth defects or cleft palate.

Through a partnership between the provincial government and Operation Smile South Africa, surgeries were performed on one adult and 23 children in the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo regions. Monday at the Nelson Mandela University Hospital in Mthatha.

The provincial health department said that without surgery, these children face enormous health, developmental and psychological challenges.

“Without successful operations, people with cleft lip or palate sometimes have slurred speech and difficulty swallowing food, which is life-threatening,” the department said in a statement.

“Some children end up suffering from malnutrition because they have difficulty eating and swallowing. Through partnerships and collaborations, we are able to provide quality health and care services to the people of the Eastern Cape. »

The department has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Operation Smile South Africa to ensure services are extended to other districts in the province.

“This is an important and historic moment as we can positively impact more lives and prevent malnutrition in children with cleft lip.”

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Christine E. Phillips