When baby Christine was born in July of last year, her mother immediately noticed that something was wrong. She had seen cleft lips before and knew there were ways to repair them.
She first took her baby to a hospital nearby in Ndola, Zambia. Doctors there told her about Dr. Goran Jovic, our surgical outreach program director in Lusaka and the only plastic surgeon practicing in Zambia.
She would have to wait until Christine was the appropriate age, however. Our policy is that a child needs to be at least three months old to undergo cleft lip surgery. When the time came, Christine and her mother traveled on a bus for more than five hours to get to the hospital in Lusaka.
Goran soon operated to repair baby Christine's lip; the procedure went well, and baby and mother were sent home the very next day. Her mother now has the peace of mind to know that baby Christine will not grow up to be shunned, teased or denied an education because of her appearance or a speech impediment.
Photo by Joe Lippi