We provide safe access to surgery to infants and children from the most remote and disadvantaged areas of Ethiopia. For families in rural communities the cost and distance of reaching the capital prevents infants from accessing essential treatment and surgery for a cleft lip or palate, which left untreated impacts child development, social integration and the ability for them to reach their full potential.
In remote and rural areas children have great difficulty accessing treatment and do not have the means to travel outside their community to a regional capital where surgery is available. Limited understanding about what cleft is can often lead to stigma, families are likely to hide their baby away. Untreated, cleft leads to difficulties breast feeding and eating. In an insecure food environment children can become malnourished, problems with speech occur and barriers to education due to bullying
We work within the community and with health facilities at regional and national level identifying patients who need treatment for cleft. We provide safe transport, food and accommodation on a journey that span over 2 days to and from a partner hospital to receive their operation from an Ethiopian surgeon. We strive for comprehensive cleft care offering nutritional support and speech therapy. Strengths in community outreach means we can work with community and religious leaders to reduce stigma
Access to comprehensive cleft care will ensure a child can grow to reach their full potential. They can feel empowered to reclaim their place in school. Our outreach work will help to build a better awareness of cleft in rural Ethiopia and help to break the negative stigma attached so that more children come forward for treatment and families are not excluded from their communities.
Read more about our Cleft Programme here