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Tygerberg Academic hospital gives 41 patients something to smile about

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The 11th annual Smile Week will be taking place this week at the Tygerberg Academic Hospital. This surgery project will give a new bright smile to 41 children, with reversible facial deformities such as cleft lips, cleft palates, nose and ear conditions, facial paralysis known as Moebius Syndrome, burn wounds and craniofacial abnormalities.

The Smile Foundation is a South African NGO, which is partnering with the Department of Health and other South African Academic Hospitals. The organisations help children with various facial deformities to undergo plastic and reconstructive surgeries which are desperately needed. The organisation works with a multi-discipline staff such as a speech therapist, occupational therapist, and provides psychological support to aid the work of surgeons.

“We are not the doing the surgeries…the surgeons are and the nurses are caring for the patients. We are just augmenting their services,” said CEO of the Smile Foundation, Hedley Lewis.

“We are humbled to be a part of the process to assist the surgical teams involved, and thank our generous donor, GDS Technologies, which has partnered with us for three years in changing South African childrens’ lives.”

“They have a wonderful CEO who believes in giving back to the community and that not everything is about rand’s and cents but it’s about empowering and supporting South Africa.”

Ten-year-old Minintle from Strand will undergo the first phase of her ear reconstructive surgery this week.
Ear reconstructive surgeries are among the most complex paediatric surgeries to perform. They are necessary to correct abnormalities of the ears as a result of congenital deformities. They are conducted in two phases: first the new ear is designed from the patient’s own rib cartilage, where it is placed in a skin pocket. Next, three months later, the ear is lifted to match the other ear.

You can support the foundation by going to our website and checking their social media pages.

“It’s not about just the funding; it’s about getting out into our community and seeing a child who needs help.

“Everyone is unique regardless of race, colour or creed. Every child is special, even if he or she has a facial deformity. We ask the public to look at our website and follow the journeys and support the up and coming projects. We thank the head of the plastic surgery team at Tygerberg Academic hospital, who is just not directing the surgeries today but the future surgeons of tomorrow.”

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