FNB donate towards cleft lip surgery

• By Uaueza Kanguatjivi

A smile is a contagious thing that makes the world and a face look beautiful but that is not the case for children born with a cleft lip.

A cleft lip and cleft palate is a birth defect condition with an opening or split on the upper lip and roof of the mouth or both. It results when facial structures developing in a baby do not close completely. Which commonly occur as isolated birth defects but is also associated with inherited genetic conditions.

As if to bring back smiles on some many children, FNB Namibia, through the FirstRand Foundation, donated N$200 000 to the Nampharm Foundation to empower medical professionals with funding and resources needed to provide free cleft lip and palate surgeries and comprehensive cleft care to Namibian children.

The Nampharm Foundation Trust is a social responsibility initiative aimed at providing medical treatment and improving the quality of life of vulnerable children suffering from severe health conditions including cleft lip defect.

Speaking at the handover, FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trustee, Doctor Magda Awases, explained that the donation was meant to advance a sustainable solution for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive as happy youths with a healthy social life.

“We all know that while a smile is perhaps the best way to display happiness, convey acceptance and add another pretty face to the world, it’s also vital for the child’s development and integration into society, for them to grow into confident productive members of the community without the fear of discrimination,” Awases said.

“This has been the case for all those who benefited from the work of the Nampharm Foundation and its partners, and it will be the case for little Evaristus Shikamba, who after a successful first operation is scheduled to undergo a lip palate operation.

Baby Rodney Ngatjizeko who was also present at the hand-over was scheduled to undergo his first operation the next day.

NamPharm Foundation, Manager, Carol Musarurwa commended FNB for their contribution adding that with such donations Nampharm has to date assisted more than 185 children.

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She also highlighted that some children needed more than one corrective surgery and Nampharm Foundation has spent over N$2.6million on this initiative in the last 5 years.

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“As a Foundation, we also try and do our best to raise funds during the year and it was tough during the COVID-19 period as our aim is to perform a minimum of 30 procedures a year. The children are referred to us through the hospitals and health centers so we are happy to know that we are raising awareness throughout Namibia and therefore no child should go unassisted. This year we have already performed 31 procedures and spent N$565 000,” Musaruwa explained.

Parents and guardians of beneficiaries present at the event also thanked both Foundations for their role in restoring the smiles of their children.