Operation Smile S. Africa to make cleft lip-cleft palate history in Rwanda

This post has already been read 7955 times!

By Robert Mugabe

Kigali, Rwanda-Cleft lip (cheiloschisis) and cleft palate (palatoschisis), which can also occur together as cleft lip and palate, are variations of a deformity caused by abnormal facial development during gestation of a human being. Rwanda ministry of health and Volunteer doctors from South Africa that carry on operation smile says the abnormality can’t be prevented but can be treated.

Leading a team of medical and non-medical volunteers, Viresh Vallabhbhai, South Africa high commission 1st secretary in charge of political affairs, believe operation smile will give a chance to all cleft lip-cleft palate victims in Rwanda to smile.

A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery; especially so if conducted soon after birth or in early childhood doctors believe but the cause of deformity is not specifically agreed upon by scientists. However, poverty ridden societies are more vulnerable the disease due to malnutrition.


According to Dr. Aime Lokulutu, OSSA Central Africa coordinator, from the 15th to the 25th of March, OSSA will provide free surgery to children and adults born with cleft lips and cleft palates.

More than 200 patients are to benefit from the operation smile country wide. Healthy ministry in Rwanda is running a campaign to have victims registered in all 30 districts and be transported to Kigali central hospital for 15-25 operation.

MTN Rwanda has pledged $30,000 Bank Populaire du Rwanda $20,000 and World vision-Rwanda says $20,000 will be allocated to support operation smile in Rwanda.

Operation Smile South Africa OSSA officials explained that a cleft is an opening or a gap caused by non-fusion of the body’s natural structures that form before birth.

Approximately 1 in 700 children in the world are born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate. Clefts can also affect other parts of the face, such as the eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, and forehead.

After the third edition, at least a number of 800 people will have benefited from the operation smile.

This post has already been read 7955 times!



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