This is the eleventh year that the hospital has hosted a Smile Week, with the launch attended by Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, who spoke about the initiative restoring hope to parents, who may never have been able to afford reconstructive surgery for their children.
“When a child is born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, the mothers are often so overwhelmed and don’t know how to handle the situation. When I was a midwife, I saw this so many times and, while the doctors know how the situation can be remedied, it is often funds that are the biggest obstacle,” she said.
According to Dr Alexander Zühlke, a senior specialist in the plastic surgery division at Tygerberg Hospital, the youngest child being operated on is five months old.
“The longest operation on Tuesday was around five hours, which was done on Brandon Daniels, an 11-month-old who was born with Scaphocephaly, occurring when there is a premature fusion of the sagittal suture,” he said.