OVER 1,700 children with cleft lip and palate from different villages in Geita Region have received surgical treatment for the last 17 years, yet survey indicates that the problem is far from being solved.
Medical experts have failed to obtain the exact nature of cleft occurrence among the increasing number of people in the region and neighbouring areas, but it is believed that the defects are likely the result of genetic and environmental factors.
On Friday, another team of 25 children left for surgical treatment at the Sekou Toure Regional Referral Hospital in Mwanza Region in a series of such missions sponsored by the Geita Gold Mine Ltd (GGM) in collaboration with Rafiki Surgical Mission to Tanzania.
“This is the 17th year since GGM started helping cleft lip and palate sufferers in 2002, with more than 1,700 children and adults benefiting so far, 10 patients of whom were successfully operated in November last year as part of the second phase of the bi-annual mission,” said the GGM Acting General Manager, Mr Wayne Louw.
According to him, cleft lip and palate deformity is a worldwide problem and unfortunately it is one of the major problems facing children around Lake Victoria, where GGM is located.
He said the mining company through Rafiki Surgical Mission to Tanzania was dedicated to helping children and adults in the region who suffer from unrepaired cleft lips and palates by providing free surgical treatment so that they can have new smiles and hopes for the future.
Mr Louw, however, said the number of patients who will receive surgery as part of the two week mission that will be undertaken at the Sekou Toure Hospital will also depend on the turn-up at the hospital and according to the Surgeon’s scrutiny.