Tamirat is three years old. He lives in a remote area of the Amhara Region with his mother, father and siblings. When he was a year old, he received his first surgery for his cleft lip, but due to the halting of elective surgery in Ethiopia at the beginning of March, Tamirat, like hundreds of other children across the country had medical their treatment delayed as a repose to the threat and impact of Covid-19. 

Read more about our Covid response initiatives here

We met Tamirat and his family February of 2021 where he was finally able to access surgery for his cleft palate. Project Harar's Programme Officer for the Amhara Region, Nigatu, spoke to Tamirat's mother about their experience with cleft stigma in their community:

I have four children, but it is the first time that I gave birth to a child with cleft. After I gave birth to Tamirat I was very upset and also angry, the Nurses counselled me and said, he will be fine and there is surgery for this, don’t be frustrated they told me. In our village there is a culture of kissing newborn babies. My neighbours came to me and said congratulations! God bless this child, let us see himI said no, maybe another time, he is sleeping now - and they said, why this is a good culture, lets us wish him good things. I totally refused them and no one saw him until my had his cleft lip surgery. Until then I was isolated from our community including churches. After two years and two month my child received palate surgery. Now we are very happy and our child is healthy. We thank you very much

You can read more about our programme in the Amhara Region here