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Cipla Foundation to treat children with cleft lip in Ghana

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The Cipla Foundation initiative, Miles for Smiles, in collaboration with Operation Smile, aims to ensure that every child born with a cleft lip or palate has access to surgery.

According to the foundation, one in every 1000 babies in Africa is born with a cleft lip

, but in Ghana, the estimate is one in every 760 children. (A cleft lip or palate happens when the structures that form the upper lip or palate fail to join together when a baby is developing in the womb.

In a press release, the Cipla Foundation stated that one in 10 children born with this condition often dies before their first birthday, emphasising that the few who survive the condition are often malnourished, susceptible to frequent infections, experience speech difficulties, and face social exclusion due to their appearance.

However, the Miles for Smiles initiative of Cipla Foundation, in partnership with Operation Smile, is working to ensure that every child born with a cleft lip or palate in Ghana can access a simple operation, resulting in a life-changing smile.

“To raise awareness and funds for Operation Smile for corrective surgeries, adventurers David Grier and Andrew Stuart will be running 160 km in four days along the coastline in Accra, Ghana. The run will start at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital and finish at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

“David and Andrew are no strangers to epic undertakings: in 2018, they ran roughly 4,200 km along the entire length of The Great Wall of China, also to raise funds for much-needed cleft surgeries,” part of the statement read.

The Chief Executive Officer of Cipla Africa, Paul Miller stated, “Our philosophy is to do well while doing good. We are exploring opportunities to make a positive impact for people in local communities, starting with the launch of Miles for Smiles in Ghana to help with funding for life-changing surgeries.”

“A smile is a promise of peace and the first sign of love. A smile is the most inexpensive gift and yet the most valuable. It’s an unspoken language – learned by none and understood by all. That’s why Cipla wants to help ensure that no child is (c)left behind,” he said.

The statement further said that a speech surgical programme was held at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra at the beginning of March 2024, which was supported by a team of local and international volunteers.

“Operation Smile Ghana screened 64 patients and performed 34 surgeries, with the goal of enhancing the speech of patients who had previously received cleft palate surgery.”

Cipla Foundation noted that by the end of the fiscal year of June 2024, Operation Smile plans to provide surgical care to about 410 patients in Ghana, with one cleft surgery costing around $700.

They urged individuals to donate towards life-changing surgeries in Ghana.




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