Monday 31st March , 2014 3:32 pm
A 19-member surgical charity team from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) has began offering free surgical operations for patients with cleft lip and cleft palate conditions at the Volta Regional Hospital.
Members of the team include speech therapists, surgeons, pediatricians, dentists, nutritionists and social workers.
The outreach, under the auspices of the Ghana Cleft Foundation, is expected to correct cleft lip and cleft palate conditions for about 80 patients in five days.
The Leader of the Team, Prof. Peter Donkor, said the outreach was to make their services available to patients at their door step, most of whom could not afford to travel to Kumasi and Accra for those services.
He said the Foundation since 2007 had extended assistance to over 1,500 patients and its biggest challenge was ignorance and misconceptions about cleft.
“People still think cleft conditions are curses and have no cure. This is not true. Such people can still live normal lives,” he said.
Cleft cases occur when parts of the lip or palate do not completely form together during the first months of pregnancy. A cleft lip may appear as a small notch on the edge of the lip only or extend into the nose. It may also extend into the gums.
A cleft palate may also vary in size, from a defect of the soft palate only to a complete cleft that extends through the hard palate.
The lips and the palate develop separately so it is possible for a child to be born with a cleft lip only, cleft palate only, or both.
A seamstress, Madam Perfect Agbadzi stated that she hardly smiled over the past 29 years due to her cleft lip and was hopeful she could exchange genuine smiles and kisses with her husband and children after her operation.
A trader from Affram Plains, Agnes Davlo, said her one- and- a half-year old girl ate and spoke with difficulties and described the outreach as God sent.
The patients, who are between three months and 40 years, had what the experts said were unilateral and bilateral cleft conditions.