Operation smile start free screenings in Mpumalanga

By Drum Digital
30 September 2013

The screenings would run until Friday to find people eligible for free life-changing surgery.

Operation Smile SA, which does free surgery on people with cleft lips or palates, starts free screenings at 10 Mpumalanga hospitals on Monday, a Sapa correspondent reported.

"So often we hear stories of families who are so ashamed of the condition that they do not bring their children for help," said Ossa regional director Sarah Driver-Jowitt.

"Even sadder are those families who get lost within the often multidisciplinary treatment of clefts and never access the care that their children need."

Driver-Jowitt said some children lived in social isolation, often not going to school because of a condition that could be treated.

She said one of 1000 children in Africa was born with a cleft lip or cleft palate while one out of 10 children with clefts did not survive until their first birthday, as they struggled to feed. A cleft lip is a hole in the lip that has caused the lip to not form fully, and a cleft palate is a hole in the roof of the mouth. "To be assessed for surgery, any person with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate should come to the pre-screening," Driver-Jowitt said. The screenings would be done at the Mmametlhake, KwaMhlanga, Evander, Ermelo, Middelburg, Mapulaneng, Themba, Shongwe, Rob Ferreira, and Piet Retief hospitals.

-by Sapa

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