The Harare Central Hospital was a hive of activity this Sunday as children with cleft lip disorders underwent a screening process with their parents holding hope on the restoration of their smiles.

Many parents cannot afford the costly cleft lip and palates operation and the coming in of the Operation of Hope in partnership with a local firm and the Ministry of Health and Child Care to offer free surgery has been received with much gladness.

The partners in the free cleft lips and palates surgery programme are hoping to help more than 60 people thus reducing the current backlog on the surgeries.

Harare Central Hospital Clinical Director Dr Christopher Pasi, president of Operation of Hope Jennifer Trubenbach and Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited Managing Director Charles Msipa said the programme which is expected to help more than 60 people in the capital is meant to reduce the current backlog.

While for some parents the joy was evident on their faces, others, however, were not so lucky as they were disqualified from getting surgery owing to different reasons including heart problems and other health related issues.

Cleft lip and palate are openings or splits in the upper lip and are the most common birth defects linked to genetic conditions.

They are sometimes associated with feeding difficulties and speech disorders.