MTN Rwanda has committed a substantial fund of 30,000 US dollars (est.18million Rwanda francs) just to have at least 300 children in Rwanda be able to smile and make their parents back, in 2012.
The announcement was made on March 13 during a press conference held at Stipp Hotels in Kigali. The financial support will be used for operations of Rwandan children and adults born with cleft lips and cleft palates.
The surgeries will be carried out, from 15th to 25th of March, 2012, by a team of medical surgeons and non-medical volunteers from Operation Smile South Africa (OSSA) – a South African based organization to which MTN Rwanda is a platinum sponsor.
Other sponsors include the ministry of health Rwanda, World Vision, Stipp Hotels, Bank Populaire du Rwanda, and the South African consulate in Rwanda. The operations will be held in Kigali, from and the ministry of health will ensure the logistics of transporting the patients.
Buses will be provided from: hospitals of Ruhengeri, Byumba, Kabgayi, Gisenyi, Kibuye, Nyagatare, Kirehe and Rwinkwavu-located across the country.
John Bosco Sendahangarwa, MTN Rwanda’s Corporate Communication Manager
said that the sponsorship is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility to allow free operations to those affected.
“MTN Rwanda has partnered with OSSA since three years ago in these rare operations intended to enable Rwandans with cleft lips and cleft palates smile again. MTN has already donated over $10,000 last year alone,” Sendahangarwa said.
MTN also played an ambassadorial role to bring other partners to support this cause. The sponsorship comes from one percent (1%) of profit after taxes proceeds to support projects with long lasting benefits to the society.
At least 510 patients have been operated since this establishment of this annual cleft program in Rwanda three years ago. Last year (2011) alone over 250 children and adults were operated.
Dr. Aime Lokulutu the regional OSSA coordinator said that will be OSSA’s third medical mission to Rwanda and the surgeons will provide free surgery to children and adults born with cleft lips and cleft palates.
“Anyone with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate should come to Centre Hospitalier Universitaire of Kigali (CHUK) on Thursday (16th of March) for a free examination to possibly receive free surgery.
To date OSSA has conducted three medical missions in Kigali, and provided surgery to 510 patients.
Officials of the ministry of Health said that the government is committed to eliminating all cases of cleft lips and cleft palates and the media should play a major role in sensitizing the communities to bring out patients for treatment instead of hiding them.
The ministry also announced a major nationwide campaign to analyze the issues of trauma and mindset in communities, which has affected the manner in which victims of cleft lips and cleft palates are treated in the community.