Cisse, a 15-month-old baby girl from Koutala in the southern Mali was born with a cleft palate. She had a cleft of her soft palate (Veau 1) which would have resulted in poor speech if uncorrected. Her mother cared for her other three children and Cisse eventually overcame her difficulty with feeding, which is a common problem associated with cleft palates. She is now at the ideal age to undergo palate repair, as she has not yet developed speech habits. People with cleft palates often have great difficulty speaking clearly, so I was glad to be able to step in at such a critical point in her life.
I repaired her cleft palate (Furlow double apposing Z-plasty) and was assisted by Dr Coulibaly. The local surgeons watched the procedure closely in order to learn, and hopefully get further training to offer cleft palate repairs in Mali.