Premier mobile network and ICT provider TNM today is pleased to announce the donation of K3.6 million to Operation Smile, a team of volunteer surgeons who will undertake free screening and surgeries at Zomba Central Hospital.
Operation Smile volunteers provide free life-changing surgery and related healthcare as well hands-on training, lectures and symposiums on cleft lip condition within the country. This year, the organisation has arranged to have two sessions, with the first one running from April 17th – 21st and the second one in August.
Speaking during the handover ceremony TNM’s Senior Manager (Public Relations) Akossa Mphepo said the donation, valued at K3.6 million comprises of K3 million in cash and K600,000 worth of mobile handsets for use during this and subsequent operations .
“The 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. These surgical missions help to address the backlog of patients with untreated clefts,” said Mphepo.
Mphepo said support to Operation Smile underlines TNM’s profound commitment towards contributing to the well being of Malawians, and directly towards the country’s health services.
“TNM remains firmly committed to contributing to Malawi’s socio-economic development through direct assistance in the health sector. We continue partnering with Operation Smile for their initiative of providing free treatment to our brothers and sisters that is why today we’re here in Zomba to support the work of these volunteers,” she said.
Operations Smiles Country Manager Ibrahim Nthalika hailed TNM partnership.
“TNM and Operation Smile have sustained a consistent partnership that has led to a lot of achievements including provision of free life changing surgery to 723 children and adults with cleft lip. At the climax of it all, the partnership has seen Malawi become a locally registered foundation in 2015,” said Nthalika.
Nthalika said this has helped to strengthen self-sustenance in terms of local resources and capacity for local medical volunteers to run local surgical missions and education programs with minimal international support.
TNM made a similar contribution during Operation Smile’s mission at Kamuzu Central Hospital in 2014 and 2015 where it donated K4 million and K2.4 million respectively. The mobile operator also pumped in K3 million last year for the same course at Zomba Central Hospital.
Approximately 1 in 1,000 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. Children suffering from cleft lips and cleft palates cannot eat, speak breathe or hear properly. Many cannot attend school with most of them living in isolation.