Smiles Restored in Madagascar

Cleft Lip and Palate Repairs

Individuals suffering from cleft lip and palates often have a hard time doing simple things such as eating and speaking. 

In 217 days, volunteer surgeons performed 104 cleft lip and palate repairs that granted those individuals freedom to live a normal life.

Thank you volunteers and donors around the world that have made those surgeries possible!

Cleft Lips Deconstructed

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 700 births suffer from a cleft lip –a split usually in the upper lip. In the developing world most cleft lips are closed within the first year.

In developing countries like Madagascar there are few surgeons that can seal cleft lips. Mercy Ships volunteer surgeons not only performed over 100 cleft lip repairs this field service, but they also mentored local surgeons in the art of cleft lip.


Francina was one of 74 children who had their cleft lip and palate repaired by Mercy Ships in Madagascar. Her bilateral cleft lip and cleft palate made feeding her difficult.

Patient Francina

Francina’s mother used to dread feeding times; her seven month old baby girl couldn’t feed naturally off her like most babies. Babies like Francina often die from malnutrition.

Francina’s mother made the 18 hour journey with her baby, hoping that Mercy Ships could help. When she arrived to the hospital ship, Francina was underweight and not ready for surgery. Thanks to our infant feeding program we were able to help Francina reach a healthy weight and get her ready for surgery.

Today, Francina’s mother no longer worries about feeding time!

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