Free Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate Surgeries At KU Hospital Transform Lives

Tears brimmed her eyes as the nurse gently hands over her 2-year-old son to her. For the past two hours, she has been pacing up and down the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital (KUTRRH) hallway by the theatres like a caged animal.

Finally, now the boy is in her hands, she can no longer hold the tears back. They now profusely roll down her cheeks as she gazes upon her boy who looks a bit sleepy. Though the anaesthesia still lingers in his body and his lip is bandaged, he manages a faint smile.

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She could swear this is the most beautiful smile that she has ever seen. This is thanks to the KUTRRH in conjunction with the ‘Love Without Reason’ organisation. The duo collaborated to run a free medical camp for Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate screening and surgeries.

The screening was conducted on 2nd February 2020 while the surgeries ran from 3rd to 7th February 2020.

Cleft lip & Cleft Palate – A Thorn in The Flesh In Kenya

A cleft palate is a gap in the roof of the mouth while a cleft lip is a tear or a gap in the upper lip. The good news is that the condition is treatable through corrective surgery, especially if the child is under two years.

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The Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate is the most common birth defect in Kenya. It occurs once in every 1300 births. Unfortunately, a lot of parents cannot afford corrective surgery needed; as such, the children are forced to grow with stigma and social rejection.

This stigma confines them to a life of limited opportunity in terms of education, relationships, community, and it is further exacerbated by barriers to care.

Following are the statistics of the patients screened and treated throughout the 5-day medical camp:

  • Total number of people screened: 125
  • Total number of surgeries conducted: 75

Surgery By Type

  • Cleft Lip: 28
  • Bilateral: 1
  • Cleft Palate: 25
  • Fistula: 4
  • Lip and Palate: 5
  • Tongue Tie: 4
  • Lip Notch: 1
  • Lip Rev: 3
  • Palate Rev: 1
  • Hemangioma: 1
  • Vestibuloplasty: 1
  • Rhinoplasty: 1

By Gender

  • Male: 28
  • Female: 47

By Age Group

  • Below 12 Months: 17
  • 1-3 Years: 17
  • 4-18 Years: 19
  • Adults: 22

The medical camp was more than a cleft lip & cleft palate corrective surgery. We were able to touch and transform the lives of 75 adults and the children by restoring the smiles and dignity they deserved.

KUTRRH is also thankful to our partner ‘Love Without Reason from the United States for initiating the medical camp. Special appreciation further goes to our health care providers and other volunteers who offered their skills and expertise for free to touch the lives of these people.

ICT officer, content development and digital media at Kenyatta University Teaching Referral & Research Hospital.

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