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Around the world, approximately 200,000 babies are born yearly with cleft lip and palate. These conditions can cause issues eating, breathing, and speaking.

The physical challenges of orofacial clefts are compounded by both the lack of understanding about them and strong cultural beliefs. Children with orofacial clefts are often discriminated against and excluded from their communities. Additionally, the lack of awareness and misconceptions surrounding these conditions can perpetuate negative stereotypes and hinder access to proper healthcare and support for the affected children.

Meeting the Needs of Children with Cleft Lip and Palate  

Thankfully, cleft conditions are correctible. Last year, 9 percent of reconstructive surgeries performed at CURE Ethiopia involved cleft lip and palate repairs. If surgery is performed at an early age, it can significantly restore the child’s speech and social integration.


Caption: CURE Ethiopia Plastic Surgeon Dr. Tesfaye successfully performs a cleft lip procedure.


In partnership with Smile Train and Transforming Faces, CURE Ethiopia has expanded its comprehensive cleft care program. The program provides world-class surgical procedures, nutritional support, and physical and speech therapy.

CURE Plastic Surgeon Dr. Tesfaye Mulat offers personalized treatment plans for children with clefts, improving their physical appearance, confidence, and quality of life.

The medical team also provides pre-surgery prep and post-surgery rehabilitation, including physical and speech therapy, ensuring children live full, productive, and independent lives. Speech therapy targets specific sounds and techniques to improve articulation and clarity, enhancing the patient’s vocabulary and communication skills.

CURE also provides essential nutrition to children and their families staying at the hospital by serving three daily meals to improve the patient’s health and help them recover from surgery. CURE’s hospital kitchens serve approximately 630,000 meals annually, feeding over 100,000 people. A nutritionist on staff also advises caregivers and parents of cleft patients on proper nutrition.

Abdi: Thriving under CURE’s Comprehensive Care Program


Before surgery at CURE Ethiopia, Abdi faced a life of social ridicule and potential health issues due to his bilateral cleft lip and palate.


Thanks to our kind donors and CURE partners, CURE Ethiopia will continue transforming the lives of kids like Abdi by providing complete care for cleft lip and palate conditions.

Abdi, who was born with bilateral cleft lip and palate, was five months old when he first came to CURE. His parents traveled three days on foot to get him to the hospital for the care he desperately needed.

Dr. Tesfaye first performed a two-hour surgery at CURE Ethiopia to close the opening in Abdi’s upper lip. After this procedure, the medical team transferred him to the intensive care unit (ICU), where he received specialized help, including nursing care, because his mother could not breastfeed him due to the wound on his lip.

CURE’s highly skilled nurses and doctors closely monitored Abdi in the ICU to ensure his comfort and recovery. He was fed using food prepared by a nutritionist to help his wounds heal quickly and restore his strength, and then he was sent home to recover.

Less than a year later, he returned to CURE Ethiopia, where Dr. Tesfaye performed a second surgery to repair his cleft palate. He received thorough post-surgical care, first in the ICU and then with follow-up appointments, until he fully healed.


After surgery at CURE Ethiopia, Abdi (pictured with his mom, Atsede) smiles and sticks out his tongue with no complications.


Like they did for Abdi, the committed team at CURE Ethiopia works relentlessly to improve the appearance and entire well-being of every child with a cleft condition we treat. Thanks to the generosity of our partners, we can ensure every child receives the best care possible throughout their healing journey.


Learn more about the conditions CURE Ethiopia treats here.

All medical care is provided at no cost to children and their families, made possible by the generous support of CURE partners and donors.



About the CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia

Established in 2008, CURE Ethiopia performs over 2,500 life-changing reconstructive and orthopedic surgeries every year for children suffering from treatable disabilities. Strategically located in the capital city of Addis Ababa, the teaching hospital has 70 beds and four operating rooms. CURE International uses this facility to multiply its efforts by partnering with The College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) to serve as a regional learning institution by implementing an orthopedic pediatric training program at the residency and fellowship levels. In addition to world-class clinical service, CURE Ethiopia ministers to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their communities.



Contact Us

CURE Ethiopia provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care to children living with treatable disabilities. Please contact us if you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE.

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