Operation Smile, a South African foundation set to perform free cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries in Rwanda, has so far screened 530 patients. 250 of them will be operated on.
The announcement came a day before the official launch of the foundation’s second mission in the country.
“The screening started on March 11, and 530 patients have been screened.
Operation Smile will operate over 250 patients in five days of surgery,” reads a statement from the U.S embassy, who are partners in the charitable exercise.
In March 2010, Operation Smile held their inaugural mission in Kigali, where they performed 248 free, life changing surgeries to Rwandans living with cleft lips and cleft palates.
This time around, the foundation will provide children and adults suffering from cleft lips and cleft palates with free surgery and follow-up care, including speech therapy and dentistry.
“A post operative assessment will be held for all patients on March 20. The mission and post operative assessments will take place at CHUK (University Teaching Hospital of Kigali),” reads the embassy statement.
Previously, Dr. Bonavanture Nizeyimana, an official from the Ministry of Health, had said there were no clear figures of people suffering from the clefts and that tentative statistics would be derived from the current screening.
A cleft lip is a separation of the two sides of the lip, which can include the bone of the upper jaw; while a cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth because the two sides of the palate have not joined properly.