Sixteen-month-old Jimla Kasenga and 61-year-old Mukadi Kabengele both have a reason to smile. Each of them underwent successful facial reconstructive surgery at Operation Smile’s recent medical mission to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The week-long mission, which took place in May at the Clinique Ngaliema, provided corrective surgery for children and adults born with facial deformities like cleft lip and cleft palate.
The first two days were reserved for screening patients who travelled to the city from remote areas of the DRC. A total of 377 patients were screened — ranging in age from a 5-day-old newborn to adults in their 60s — of which 156 patients had surgery. Those not eligible for surgery were given custom made dental obturators fabricated on site by the team. Nineteen of the screened patients were identified as potential candidates for Operation Smile’s World Care programme, designed specifically for patients with more complicated craniofacial disfigurements.
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