Mussa’ab from Ethiopia

Mussa’ab is standing with his mother in the waiting area of ​​the Karamara General Hospital in Jijiga, Ethiopia. In June 2023, during our second aid mission in the eastern Ethiopian city, the rush of families with children with cleft lip and palate is even greater than during our first mission six months earlier. Mother and son have been waiting for several hours. It is finally their turn to be admitted. Both are as happy to see us again as we are to see them.

Mussa’ab came to our first aid mission in Jijiga in 2022. We still remember the cheerful boy very well. His family lives in Somalia. They move as nomads with their cattle through the arid region. Not an easy life: The family suffered greatly from the recent drought, which meant less drinking water and pasture for the animals.

When Mussa’ab was born with a cleft lip and palate, the family did not know that Mussa’ab’s cleft could be treated. They were worried about their child. When Mussa’ab’s mother heard about our first aid mission with a team of experienced DCKH partner surgeons from Bangladesh in Jijiga, they set off on the long journey to Ethiopia with renewed hope. Our German volunteer surgeon Dr. Ulrike Lamlé closed Mussa’ab’s cleft palate in a first operation.

Long-term help

Now, almost a year later, we have come back, this time with a team of volunteers from our project in Pakistan. Now Mussa’ab’s cleft lip is finally to be closed. Before we can begin, Mussa’ab’s state of health is checked. His blood values and other important statistics ​​are good and he can receive surgery. The operation takes just under an hour. The cleft lip is closed successfully.

After Mussa’ab has recovered from his surgery, mother and son return home. Mussa’ab’s future prospects have improved massively thanks to the successful closure of his clefts. Many health problems that untreated clefts cause will no longer burden him in his life.

Today, a local cleft surgeon, Dr. Samater, works in Jijiga as a permanent contact person for patients in the region. He was trained during our missions and during an internship with our partner Dr. Ganatra in Pakistan – a huge step forward for all those affected in the region! A second doctor is in training – a very positive milestone of our work to build a local cleft treatment infrastructure.

Mussa’ab and thousands of other children like him every year owe their improved future prospects to our surgeons – and our donors, who make it possible to help Mussa’ab and thousands of other children like him! We thank them from the bottom of our hearts!