Free Cleft Lip and Palate Reconstruction Brings New Hope in Wakiso
More than 80 children and adults have received free cleft lip and palate surgery at St. Joseph’s hospital in Wakiso.
A cleft lip is a birth defect that occurs when the tissue forming the roof of the mouth does not form properly. It is caused by a lack of nutritional materials in the body of an expectant mother emanating from poor eating within the first three months of pregnancy.
It is the most common birth defect in Uganda. One out of every 1,000 children in Uganda is born with cleft lips.
The in-charge St. Joseph’s Hospital Dr Julius Mugagga says that the free cleft lip and palate camp at the facility started in June with 22 people getting surgeries and 32 people being operated on last month. The camps are funded by the American based Smile Train Ambassadors.
According to Mugagga, a person with a cleft lip and palate requires more than 2 million shillings for surgery in a private facility.
“But with the assistance from Smile Train Ambassadors which is led by Dr Sr. Najjuka Justine from Little Sisters of Nkokonjeru in Uganda, we shall continue to provide the service at St. Joseph’s hospital without any cost every month,” Mugagga said.
He says that there are many people in Uganda living with cleft lip and usually ignore reporting cases of children especially those born outside health facilities.
“We are encouraging all members of the community who know of a person or child with this problem to seek medical attention than hiding away from the public,” he added.
Immaculate Nakityo, who benefited from the medical camp, says that she has been facing stigma since many people associate the condition with witchcraft. She says that nobody in the community wanted to associate with her because of the defect.
She is happy that her face was reconstructed at a free cost because she could not afford 3 million shillings for surgery.