Ifa is one year and 5 months old, I have other children but he is the first one in the family and only, with a cleft lip. It took us a long time to get here, we had to catch two buses and walk to get the first bus - it took as almost five hours by foot, which is a long way with a new baby. We recently moved nearer the country side, we wanted to give our children a better life, we used to live in a city, in the East Wollega Zone. It’s hard to make a living in the new area we live, I stay at home to look after my children and my husband does whatever he can to feed us.

I had difficult time breastfeeding him and feeding him other food types to, It was painful to give him my breast so I started to give him other milk, biscuits and rice - but I think his stomach is small, he can't eat that much.

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This family accessed Project Harar's cleft lip and palate services in November 2021, but unfortuntly this baby was underweight and not healthy enough to receive surgery. We gave the family targeted nutritional support and advice so that their baby will be healthy enough to receive surgery as soon as possible. Everyone who needs cleft lip or palate surgery will have health checks at the hospital before their operation. In Ethiopia babies need to meet the 8 kilo weight requirement to receive safe surgery, but other health factors also come into play, such as blood pressure. 

We are now able to deliver immediate nutritional support packs to families with undernourished children, during the part of our programme when we identify and arrange the travel for families who need to access cleft surgery. 

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Since 2017 we have been integrating nutritional information into our year round awareness raising efforts, which includes the training of Government Health and Social Workers. 

We encourage families with undernourished children to try and incorporate variety in their diet and to seek out nutrient rich food available in their area, such as teff flour, beans and pulses and leafy greens. The targeted nutrition packs we provide contain enriched produce, such as fortified milk powder, peanut butter and flour, that can be added to traditional dishes to encourage healthy weight gain. Milk powder is important for infants who cannot breast feed because of their cleft lip/palate. 

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