By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
21 March 2014
A team of international doctors and nurses who have changed the lives of hundreds of Zimbabweans through free facial reconstruction surgery, will be returning to the country once again in April.
The Operation of Hope team, with the assistance of the Avondale and Borrowdale Brooke Rotary Clubs, will be offering the free surgeries to children and adults from April 7th. Parents and guardians of potential patients, or anyone afflicted with cleft palates or similar facial disfigurements, are encouraged to attend the screening day on April 6th.
That screening process at the Harare Central Hospital will be used to determine the surgery days and times. The screening day starts at 8am and all potential patients will need to bring their relevant documents and medical records.
The April surgeries will be the 14th mission Operation of Hope has undertaken in Zimbabwe since first coming to the country in 2006. More than 720 people have received free surgeries since then. The last mission in 2013 saw 42 people, mainly children, receiving new smiles.
The Rotary Club’s Stewart Chipato, who has helped the international team during recent missions, described the transformations he has witnessed as “nothing short of miraculous.”
“These surgeries transform the children completely, both facially, spiritually and mentally. It restores their looks, their spirit and their hope. It also restores the lives of their parents, so it’s very moving,” Chipato told SW Radio Africa.
Operation of Hope meanwhile is also fundraising for the future surgeries needed by Zimbabwean, Blessing Makwera, who suffered extreme facial injuries after a land-mine accident in 2008. Blessing, just 14 at the time, accidentally put the mine in his mouth, not knowing what it was. The mine then detonated, obliterating his tongue, teeth & jawbone.
The Operation of Hope team has been helping Blessing obtain the life changing surgeries he would never be able to afford alone. The latest fundraising efforts include Operation of Hope’s volunteer nurse and anesthetist, Lisa Rogien, who will run the Boston Marathon this April. All funds she raises will go towards Operation of Hope’s efforts. Lisa is also hosting Blessing in her home in Idaho, USA as he attends school awaiting the completion of the multiple and complex surgeries he needs.
To support Lisa and follow Blessing’s journey, click here.