Smiles soon shared

Alina Nteke with four-month-old AmohelangPhoto: Mlungisi Louw
Alina Nteke with four-month-old AmohelangPhoto: Mlungisi Louw

A group of 23 children from the Free State will undergo life-changing surgeries that will leave them with smiles as part of the Smile Foundation’s Smile Week.

These surgeries are being performed at the Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein until Friday (06/11).

A four-month-old baby girl, Amohelang Nteke, is one of the beneficiaries.

She was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a cleft lip and palate, a defect she had been born with.

Little Amohelang, from Hennenman, is among the children aged from three months to three years who are to receive cleft lip and palate surgeries.

Another of the children to undergo surgery is two-year-old MacFarlane Ramathe, who was born with Pierre Robin Syndrome, as well as a cleft palate.

Hedley Lewis, chief executive officer of the Smile Foundation, said surgeons generally wait for two years before they close the palate.

“We are extremely proud that we can play such an instrumental role in supporting MacFarlane and his family,” said Lewis.

“He is clearly a born fighter, and we have no doubt that this surgery will forever change his life.

“These surgeries have been sponsored by the Vodacom Foundation, and we are honoured to be backed by our long-standing corporate donor. Without the support of sponsors like them, we would not be able to assist the hundreds of children who so desperately need our assistance across the country.”

Lewis said Covid-19 has put an estimated 70% to 100% of children’s surgeries on hold due to insufficient theatre space and an inexhaustible backlog.

“This backlog has severe ramifications for children waiting for surgery, many of whom are suffering further complications as a result of the delay.”

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