An Eastern Cape family is in desperate need of an operation for its two-year-old daughter that was born with a cleft lip.
The Conjwa family says it has made numerous appointments at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha but the hospital has failed to honour the appointments to conduct the needed operation.
A cleft lip and palate are birth defects that can cause feeding, speech, hearing and dental problems.
The toddler’s mother, Sisonke Conjwa, says feeding the child is a challenge.
“In 2020 I stayed at the hospital for 3 weeks and I was told to come back after a month they will operate her and they never did. I kept on starting new appointment dates. Her peers laugh at people around her. I am asking the government or anyone that can help my child get help”
The Health Department spokesperson Yonela Dekeda says due to the COVID-19 pandemic they had to make emergency cases their priority.
“Since the COVID-19 outbreak hospitals around the province inclusive of Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital had to cut down on elective cases and focus on emergency procedures. The department is in the process of engaging the Smile Foundation to assist the hospital to reduce the backlog. They have confirmed that they will resume preliminary assessment of the cleft lip and palate surgery at the beginning of August.”