Nearly 20 children set to undergo reconstructive facial surgeries in Cap-du-Nord – SABC News
Nearly 20 life-changing reconstructive facial surgeries for children as young as three months old will take place in the Northern Cape during this week and next.
Parents, who have traveled long distances to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley, say they are eager to see how their children’s lives will change for the better.
Parents of children due for surgery during Smile Week 2021 in Kimberley say they are happy their children are not harassed and stigmatized in their communities.
âEvery mother loves to see her child smile. The first time I saw her like that, with a cleft palate, I felt bad because I didn’t deserve to see her like that, âsays one of the parents.
Another adds, âI’m excited because I’ve been waiting for this for so long because my child’s nostrils weren’t the same size. One was tall and the other smaller. So now they’ve opened up the smallest everything. I’m glad Katlego got help at a very young age.
While some have expressed their enthusiasm, the mother of a 1-year-old, Edgeline Masekwameng, expressed concern about the medical procedure for her child. “I’m nervous. I’m not sure what to expect for the cleft palate operation.
Meanwhile, Dr Maria Cilliers, head of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Unit at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital, says these surgeries help build children’s confidence as they grow older.
âWe are there to help them, to restore their normalcy, to be more normal. As if the child is born with a cleft lip, we perform the cleft lip repair when the child is three months old. And if it is a cleft palate, an opening in the mouth, we do it when the child is 12 years old. If it is a deformity of the ear, we wait up to six to seven years. If it is a teenage girl with a big breast, you wait for the breast to stop growing completely. So it’s a variety of procedures that we perform.
The Smile Foundation says it will continue to help children who need surgery despite the challenges faced by the foundation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
-Report by Katleho Morapela