Smiles and hope – just what the doctor ordered

Teresia and Maki Koto happy to share what this surgery meant to them. PHOTO: PULANE CHOANE

The smiles and happy faces of 25 children were everywhere at Universitas Academic Hospital during Smile Week, a programme sponsored by Adcock Ingram. These children, from various parts of the Free State, will undergo reconstructive surgeries – ranging from bilateral and unilateral cleft and soft palate repairs to alveolar bone grafts and pharyngeal flap surgeries.

Maki, an 11-year-old from Botshabelo, was only a year old when a candle that fell over set the area where she was sitting alight. She sustained multiple facial burns in the fire and tragically also lost all her fingers. She has endured many surgeries since 2010 but her brave spirit and her mother’s longsuffering faith is what kept them going.

Doreen Kosi, who is a PR executive from Adcock Ingram, said this initiative is their flagship programme. One of the objectives of the programme is to create a link between mothers and their children, to empower them in creating awareness about their various conditions and also to let them know that there is hope.

Dr F Sprayt, who is on the surgical team of this programme, said when children first come in, often they have no hope, but the positive feedback from parents and the hope on their faces after the operations have been performed, is very satisfactory for him. He added the whole experience has enriched his life. – Pulane Choane