MTN Rwanda commits $30,000 (Rwf 18 million) for free surgery of Rwandans born with cleft lips and cleft palates

Tuesday March 13 2012

KIGALI- MTN Rwanda today announced continued financial support of operations of Rwanda children and adults born with cleft lips and cleft palates.

MTN Rwanda is partnering with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health Services and Operation Smile South Africa (OSSA) and its team of medical and non-medical volunteers to ensure the operation of over 200 Rwandans suffering from this vice.

MTN Rwanda’s Corporate Affairs John Bosco Sendahangarwa said during today’s press conference at Stipp Hotel that MTN Rwanda would support the project with a financial commitment of $30,000 (Rwf 18 million) to allow free operations for those affected this year alone.

“MTN Rwanda has partnered with OSSA since three years ago in these rare operations intended to enable Rwandans with cleft lips and cleft palates smile again. MTN has already donated over $10,000 last year alone,” Sendahangarwa said.

“We have also played n ambassadorial role to make sure we bring other partners to support this cause. At MTN Rwanda one percent (1%) of profit after taxes proceeds to support projects with long lasting benefits to the society. This is in line with our corporate social responsibility.  Last year alone over 250 children and adults were operated on,” he added.

Cleft lip (cheiloschisis) and cleft palate (palatoschisis), which can also occur together as cleft lip and palate, are variations of a deformity caused by abnormal facial development during gestation of a human being. OSSA officials explained that a cleft is an opening or a gap caused by non-fusion of the body's natural structures that form before birth.

Approximately 1 in 700 children in the world are born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate. Clefts can also affect other parts of the face, such as the eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, and forehead. A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery, especially so if conducted soon after birth or in early childhood.
According to Dr. Aime Lokulutu from the 15th to the 25th of March, OSSA will provide free surgery to children and adults born with cleft lips and cleft palates.

“Anyone with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate should come to Centre Hospitalier Universitaire of Kigali (CHUK) on Thursday (16th of March) for a free examination to possibly receive free surgery. This will be OSSA’s third medical mission to Rwanda. To date OSSA has conducted three medical missions in Kigali, and provided surgery to 510 patients,” Dr. Lokulutu said.

“If patients need assistance with transportation to CHUK, those patients should make their way to their local district hospital where free transport will be provided on same day at 6am. Buses will be provided from: hospital of Ruhengeri, Byumba, Kabgayi, Gisenyi, Kibuye, Nyagatare, Kirehe and Rwinkwavu,” he added.

If chosen for surgery, patients will have to remain through surgery week and the post-operative assessment, and are asked to bring along clothing for the duration of the medical mission. Only one family member or guardian can accompany the patient.

For Media Related Information

About MTN Foundation
The MTN Foundation is the vehicle through which MTN implements its Corporate Social Responsibility programme. The Foundation was created with a focus on giving back to society and "Impacting the quality of lives in our communities" in a meaningful way. MTN Rwanda is passionate about the company’s vision to positively impact lives in our communities therefore we intervene through projects in three key areas, namely: economic empowerment, health and education. The foundation enjoys 100 percent funding from MTN Rwanda, which gives it up to 1 percent of its post-tax profits and covers all its overhead expenses including staffing, accommodation, travel, publicity and all expenses necessary to operate.

About Operation Smile
Operation Smile is a global non-profit, volunteer medical services organisation which provides free reconstructive surgery to children and adults with cleft lips and/or cleft palates in over 60 countries worldwide. The success of Operation Smile over the last 29 years is due to the amazing volunteer, diplomatic, corporate and individual support that the organisation receives. Together with their partners they create change, provide hope and give people who would not otherwise have the opportunity and chance to live a normal life.


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