The annual Smile Week, which provides plastic surgeons with dedicated theatre time to assist children in need of facial and other reconstruction, saw 29 children undergo surgery in Port Elizabeth’s Provincial Hospital last week.

The Smile Foundation initiative, which is sponsored by Airport Company South Africa (ACSA), is aimed at putting a smile on the faces of the children.

“We believe that investing in the well-being of our children is an investment in our future, especially in the Eastern Cape because we are a needy province,” said ACSA manager Greg Small.

Smile Foundation is a non-governmental organisation that works with eight academic hospitals around South Africa.

“We help children who suffer from treatable facial abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate, all burns, facial paralysis and other conditions,” described operations executive director of Smile Foundation Moira Gerszt.

The Smile Weeks give the surgeons involved an opportunity to operate on many more children than on a normal weekly theatre slate, enabling more children to receive timeous surgeries.

Plastic surgeons from other academic hospitals flew to Port Elizabeth to assist with offering two theatres for surgery.

“We have a very positive and enthusiastic medical team in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.

“The doctors really go above and beyond to ensure that the children receive the best care ever.