Children's Smiles Fixed in Surgery Partnership | Western Cape Government


Children's Smiles Fixed in Surgery Partnership

11 August 2010

This year's annual Smile Week, at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, which took place from August 2 until August 6, was a huge success, with twenty four (24) children undergoing cleft lip and palate, cranio-facial and hand surgeries - nine (9) more than last year.

Smile Week, an initiative by the Smile Foundation, is an annual event which takes place at hospitals around the country. Last year Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital (RCWMCH) partnered with the Smile Foundation for the first time. The Smile Foundation also celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

Usually, the Smile Foundation only focuses on cleft lip and palate reconstruction surgery, but RCWMCH requested that the Smile Foundation sponsor additional surgeries - cranio-facial, congenital hands and burns reconstruction surgeries in August and they obliged.

One of the patients to undergo cranio-facial surgery was nine-year-old Hamza. The long-time ward E1 patient underwent about eight hours of surgery to lift the bones in his face. Hamzas jawbone had been compressing his windpipe and as a result he has been breathing through a tracheotomy since he was two years old. The aim of the surgery was to help Hamza to breathe without a tracheotomy.

Dr. Anita Parbhoo, Senior Medical Superintendent expressed her sincere appreciation to the Smile Foundation and the Vodacom Foundation for sponsoring these corrective procedures.

"Cleft lip and palate is the most common facial congenital anomaly in children. This deformity affects the patients in many negative ways and needs long-term specialist treatment. The operation remedies the condition, and a multi-disciplinary approach, which includes health care professionals, will continue post operatively at the Hospital, contributing to the best outcome for the child."

"We are thankful to the Smile Foundation for including the congenital hands cases in this year's Smile Week."

RCWMCH may have only partnered with the Smile Foundation for additional surgeries over the last two years but the hospital has a long history of treatment for children with cleft lip and palate deformities. The Hospital's Cleft Lip and Palate Unit was founded in 1958 by a plastic surgeon, David Davies, and speech therapist, Dianna Whiting.

The clinic is the only one of its kind in South Africa that meets the World Health Organisation requirements for services. It offers neonatal emotional support and advice; neonatal nursing; surgery; orthodontic/orthopaedic treatment; speech and language therapy; ear, nose and throat care; clinical genetics; dental care and a neonatal register.

Marc Lubner, the Chairman of the Smile Foundation said: "The foundation is encouraged by RCWMCH and Vodacoms continued trust in them and that it will continue to deliver augmented service to the plastics department of the hospital and continue to put smiles on needy childrens faces."

About The Smile Foundation:

The Smile Foundation is a non-profit organisation that brings people together for the purpose of providing expert surgical intervention, creating greater social involvement and enabling sensible corporate social investment, to make a difference in the lives of children with facial anomalies.

For more information on The Smile Foundation, or to donate monies and find out how to get involved, visit there website or call 0861 ASMILE.

Media Enquiries: 

Lauren O'Connor
Principal Communications Officer
Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital
Tel: 021 658 5448
Cell: 084 586 1413
Fax: 021 658 5333