Schweppes Holdings Africa Limited in July, partnered Alliance for Smiles (AfS) to offer free cleft lip and palate surgical operations to over 80 patients at Chitungwiza Central Hospital.
The beverages manufacturer which has for the past 7 years partnered various surgical missions and Rotary Clubs to provide the life-changing surgeries believes their participation is aimed at assisting the under privileged in society.
This year, Schweppes supplied water and juice, “to keep patients and their families, volunteers and all related health personnel hydrated during the mission.”
“The main objective of our participation is to assist the under privileged in society, with health and children having been identified as a key focus area for the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives,” said Demos Mbauya, Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited, General Manager.
Gracious Takabvakure, Sales and Marketing Manager for Servcor (Pvt) Limited who also donated foodstuffs during the cleft lip and palate surgeons operations, said they were privileged to partner for such a noble cause.
“We are also privileged to be a selected partner in this unique initiative and to provide food and specialized sustenance for the patients and their families, some of whom have travel long journeys to have this life changing surgery,” said Takabvakure.
A cleft is a gap or split in the upper lip and/or roof of the mouth (palate). The gap is there because parts of the baby’s face didn’t join together properly during development in the womb. Babies can be born with a cleft lip, cleft palate or both.
A cleft lip may affect one side of the mouth or both, ranging from a small notch to a wide gap that reaches the nose. It is possible to have a cleft lip without a cleft palate, a cleft palate without a cleft lip, or both together.
The condition is caused by any one of the following factors during pregnancy – lack of enough tissue during fetal development, genetics, consumed unsafe substances and medications. This causes difficulty in the child feeding, hearing, speaking or dental problems.
The condition can be managed through surgery, feeding support, speech and language therapy and good dental hygiene.
Alliance for Smiles (AfS) was founded in October of 2004 by six members of the Rotary Club of San Francisco who had been involved previously with other cleft lip and palate organizations.
AfS recently embarked on a campaign in Africa, conducting missions to Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania.