“I believe every child in the world has the right to a beautiful smile and exceptional surgical care.”
Every 3 minutes, a child somewhere in the world is born with a cleft lip and/or a cleft palate, with only a small percentage able to afford medical care. It is estimated that nearly 2 billion people across the world lack access to any surgical care. Left untreated, children will be unable to speak, eat, socialise, smile and may have difficulty breathing. For this reason, I joined Operation Smile South Africa (OSSA) in 2006. Since then, I have been privileged to be part of over 25 surgical missions spanning across several continents - in South Africa and the rest of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. I volunteer for missions regularly because I believe that cleft and palate surgery is not simply cosmetic repair, it’s reconstructive surgery that makes a lasting positive and holistic impact on the lives of children.
“A child’s cleft lip or cleft palate can be repaired in as little as 45 minutes – but it’s a gift that lasts a lifetime.”
OSSA is part of a global non-profit medical services organisation – Operation Smile – that has over the past 30 years, provided care to over 200 000 children and adults worldwide, and currently has a presence in over 60 countries.
“Being part of this organisation and being able to change the lives of these kiddies born with a cleft lip and palate is such a privilege.”
I also provide care to Operation Smile World Care patients in South Africa. World Care helps patients with severe facial defects and tumours who do not have access to specialised reconstructive microsurgical expertise in the countries they were born in.
I am the medical advisor to Operation Smile South Africa and a regular speaker and advocate of the organisation.