By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
08 April 2014
Parents and guardians of children born with cleft palates and other facial disfigurements have been urged to seek treatment for their afflicted dear ones.
Jennifer Trubenbach, the president of Operation of Hope, a team of international experts on facial surgery, said people should not be ashamed of relatives and family members born with facial disfigurements. She said people are born with such conditions not because of evil spirits but because of natural complications. Trubenbach said surgery was the only way so far to fight such conditions.
The Operation of Hope team is currently in Zimbabwe to perform surgeries and about 60 patients are expected to have been treated by the end of the week.
According to Trubenbach, the exercise which is conducted in conjunction with Avondale and Borrowdale Brooke Rotary Clubs has been well received. About 100 patients attended the screening stage on Sunday. However, only 60 people were selected for treatment and the remainder will be attended to in the follow-up exercise which is expected mid-2014.
Trubenbach said they have seen people dancing and with some totally consumed by emotions after the treatment of their loved ones. She said: ‘If you ask any member of our team the most touching moment is when the parents receive and hold their child after operation. I don’t have words to describe the experience.’
Operation of Hope has been undertaking such missions in the country since 2006. So far more than 720 people have benefitted from 13 pervious missions. Last year more than 40 people, mainly children, received new appearances.
Organisers have said there are plans to expand the exercise and undertake research to determine the extent of facial disfigurements in the country. There are fears that some potential beneficiaries are missing out because relatives could be hiding afflicted family members due to shame.