Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), the country’s premier mobile service provider, has given Operation Smile, a South African based team of surgeons, K2.41 million to carry out free screening and surgeries at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe.
The team, which is already in the country and got the donation on Thursday, provide free life-changing surgery and related health care as well hands-on training, lectures and symposiums that help uplift rural health care and build capacity with its partners.
TNM Head of Marketing, Webster Mbekeani said they appreciate challenges people face when accessing treatment, hence the donation.
“Health sector continues to face challenges among them shortage of human resources as such we see the coming of these volunteers as an opportunity for our patients to access treatment,” Mbekeani said.
Mbekeani said the donation underlines TNM’s commitment to contributing to the well being of Malawians, and directly towards the country’s health services.
He further expressed optimism that the provision of surgery services by Operation Smile will change the lives of children who could hardly speak or smile and remove them from isolation.
Apart from the cash donation, TNM has also given the visiting surgeon volunteers recharge vouchers (airtime) and SMS broadcast, an avenue that will be used to inform the general public about Operation Smile scheduled mission.
TNM made a similar contribution during Operation Smile’s mission last year.
Operation Smile also aims at addressing the backlog of patients with untreated clefts through surgical missions.
The team is able to operate about 200 patients within ten days.
Individuals suffering from cleft lips and cleft palates hardly eat, speak, breathe or hear properly. Many cannot attend school with most of them living in isolation.
Approximately 1 in 1000 children in Africa is born every year with cleft lip and or cleft palate. One in 10 children does not survive to their first birthday
In areas with sufficient access to health care, these are usually corrected shortly after birth. However, for many children living in more rural or poorer areas, medical treatment is not available.