CURE treats children from Borena with specialized cleft lip and palate surgery
Over the last three years, the Borena zone in the Oromia region of Ethiopia has faced one of the deadliest droughts the area has seen in years, and over 800,000 residents are experiencing famine. People in the region are primarily pastoralists and depend on animals for their livelihood, but the lack of rain has killed people’s herds. Among those suffering in these communities are children with disabilities.
It is not hard to imagine how difficult it is for parents to bring their kids to the hospital for surgery in this type of environment. Because CURE’s mission is to reach the unreached and provide treatment for the most vulnerable children with disabilities, CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia (CURE Ethiopia), in collaboration with UNICEF, brought eight children with cleft lip and palate and their mothers to the hospital in Addis Ababa in May 2023.
Cleft lip and palate made these kids the subjects of ridicule in their communities and caused eating and breathing difficulties. But an expert team of doctors and surgeons provided life-altering surgeries to treat their cleft conditions, greatly enhancing their quality of life. As these mothers watched their children transform and become capable of eating normally and smiling fully, they expressed their gratitude.
Restoring Smiles for Kids like Abdu Jarso
Among the children CURE treated was three-year-old Abdu Jarso, who had been needlessly suffering from a treatable cleft lip and palate. He is the last born of three children to his mother, Sedo, and was the only one with a cleft lip.
His lip was a constant source of worry for his family. Since his mouth didn’t fully close, he couldn’t create the suction needed to breastfeed, so his family had to improvise. It’s not common to bottle-feed babies in Ethiopia, but Sedo learned how to in order to keep Abdu from starving.
Sedo had long wanted to find help for Abdu, but the drought prevented her from doing so. Abdu’s family used to do all right for themselves, but all their wealth was invested in their small herd of cows—almost all of which died due to the drought. It’s become a daily struggle for Abdu’s parents to feed themselves and their three children, so finding treatment for Abdu’s cleft lip took a back seat to fighting starvation.
Thankfully, Sedo found out about CURE Ethiopia. She was excited to know that sponsored treatment was available for Abdu, but with barely enough money for food, a bus ticket to the hospital was beyond their means. Surgery seemed like an unattainable dream—that is, until CURE Ethiopia took a special interest in Sedo and Abdu’s region in collaboration with UNICEF.
Once there, surgeons repaired Abdu’s cleft lip and palate, enabling him to grow up disability-free and help support his family in the future!
CURE’s Compassionate Care
CURE Ethiopia strives to create a supportive and comforting environment for parents and children. By offering specialized care and a team of compassionate medical professionals, CURE aims to alleviate the stress and anxiety families may experience during challenging times. Additionally, we provide ongoing emotional support and resources to help parents navigate their child’s surgery and recovery.
Not only has the high-quality surgical care at CURE made a remarkable difference in the lives of these children from a remote and hard-stricken area of Ethiopia, but it has also given hope to countless other families dealing with similar difficulties.