Since 2001, we have treated more than 7,000 patients with cleft, lip or palate and complex facial disfigurements. We are now treating more than 1,100 cleft, lip or palate patients and 50 complex conditions each year. Surgery has a huge impact on their lives both socially and mentally. 

Stigma: Many children with facial disfigurements are ostracised by their communities, and most of our young patients are denied their right to a school-place. Just a simple operation for cleft completely transforms a life. Our patients return to their villages empowered to take their place at school, grow up alongside peers, and in time to have their own family. Read about our previous patients here

Training: We have provided training and capacity building for more than 750 local health workers and government officials. By enabling local networks to recognise facial disfigurements and refer patients to us, we greatly increase our reach across Ethiopia. During our annual complex mission, our medical team helps to build the capacity of local surgeons, doctors and nurses through the exchange of ideas, skills and practices. 

Nutrition: Babies with a cleft lip can become severely malnourished as they are unable to suckle and may be prone to choking. Left untreated, a child with a cleft may not learn to speak properly and can suffer hearing problems. This is why we have now started a nutrition training programme for 480 mothers in the Afar region with plans for expansion to other regions. 

Speech and Language Therapy: For those cleft patients that need it, we offer speech and language therapy. This helps them settle back into school. 

Complex Surgical Mission: Once a year we mobilise a group of UK and international medical volunteers to operate on some of the most severely facially disfigured patients (ranging from tumours and noma to hyena attacks and other complex facial conditions) from across Ethiopia. We aim to treat around 50 patients who come to us having experienced isolation and discrimination. The transformation both physically and mentally after surgery is really remarkable. Since 2011, we have provided surgery for more than 400 patients. In 2017, we carried out a thorough review of our previous patients to find out how one operation could change their lives - seeing them thriving in their community is truly special. Read more about our review mission here 

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