cleft lip.jpg40 children born with cleft lip and palates deformities have undergone reconstruction surgery at Harare Hospital with the visiting specialists and local co-coordinators expressing optimism that the country will soon be able to effectively deal with condition.  

Cleft lip and palates are birth defects that affect the upper lip and the roof of the mouth.

The condition can be corrected surgically but the costs of the operation are very high for many Zimbabweans.

A group of 18 specialists and nurses from an organisation called LEAP Foundation in conjunction with Celebration Health, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the Department of Dentistry at the University of Zimbabwe are holding free cleft lip reconstruction surgery at Harare Hospital and 40 children have benefitted so far.

Head of the LEAP Foundation delegation, Dr Craig Hobar said the team will continue working towards capacitating local specialists who will deal with the problem locally.    

A local maxillofacial surgeon who is coordinating the programme, Dr Leonard Mahomva said local surgeons are being overwhelmed by the number of children who require cleft lip surgery in government institutions but expressed optimism that the situation will normalise.      

Some of the parents with children who had just undergone the reconstruction surgery were thankful to the organisers for giving the children a brighter hope for the future.

Members of the LEAP Foundation have been coming to Zimbabwe once every year for the past three years to conduct cleft lip surgeries and to date, more than 140 children have benefitted under the programme.