Free facial reconstruction surgery starts next week

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
1 April 2014

A team of international doctors and nurses will be arriving in Zimbabwe this week to offer free facial surgeries to children and adults afflicted with cleft palates or similar facial disfigurements.

According to the organizers, the life changing exercise will start with the screening of patients on Sunday, with the actual surgery starting Monday at the Harare Central Hospital. The process starts at 8am and potential patients must bring their particulars, including medical records.

Operation of Hope together with the Avondale and Borrowdale Brooke Rotary Clubs are calling on all people afflicted with cleft palates or similar facial disfigurements to attend the exercise.

Operation of Hope has been undertaking such missions in the country since 2006. So far more than 720 people have benefited from 13 previous missions. Last year more than 40 people, mainly children, received new appearances.

The Rotary Club’s Stewart Chipato said this time around they were expecting more people from all over the country. He said: ‘We have distributed flyers through hospitals, schools and churches and sent messages through the social media.’
Chipato said there are plans to expand the exercise and undertake more research to determine the extent of the problem of facial disfigurements in the country. He said there were fears that some potential beneficiaries were missing out because of ignorance and because relatives were hiding afflicted family members due to shame.

He added: ‘We are also looking into how we can get more local doctors trained in surgery so that we can have local experts. This is a life changing operation for both the afflicted and their families.’



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