Partnering with the Vodacom and the Smile foundations, surgeons at the children’€™s hospital this week operated on 25 children with facial and hand anomalies.

According to Operation Smile South Africa one in a 1000 babies born in Africa has a cleft lip or cleft palate and a 60 minutes operation could correct the deformity.

Children who did not receive surgery after being born with the condition could have difficulty eating, drinking and speaking. This would result in children being malnourished or having other medical and psychological problems.

‘€œCleft lip and palate is the most common facial congenital anomaly in children. This deformity affects the patients in many negative ways and needs long term specialist treatment. The operation remedies the condition, and a multidisciplinary approach which includes health care professionals, will continue post operatively at the Hospital, contributing to the best outcome for the child,’€ said Dr Anita Parbhoo, senior medical superintendent at Red Cross.

Although the hospital only partnered with the Smile Foundation for additional surgeries over the past two years it started fixing smiles in 1958.

The hospital’€™s Cleft Lip and Palate Unit was established by David Davies and speech therapist, Dianna Whiting. It is the only one of its kind in South Africa and meets the standards set by the World Health Organisation.

Some of its services include neonatal advice, neonatal nursing, surgery, orthopaedic treatment, language therapy and nose and throat care among others.

Executive chairman of the Smile Foundation, Marc Lubner said the foundation was committed to continue efforts to put a smile on the faces of needy children.

During a visit to Red Cross Western Cape Health MEC, Theuns Botha thanked the hospital staff and the foundation.

“This province is so fortunate to have surgeons the likes of Prof. Karriem and all the medical staff involved in these procedures.   Their devotion and passion when working with these children is exemplary.   I have to be thankful for the Smile Foundation and the sponsors who are making it possible for children to enter a new life with a broad smile,’€ he said.

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