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Aynalem Learns Feeding Techniques to Help Her Son Thrive

Uriel was born in Debre Markos, a small city in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. That he is now a thriving, healthy 1-year-old had almost been beyond hope for his mother, Aynalem.

She had never heard of cleft lip and palate and believed, along with her neighbours, that his condition must have been a burden sent by God. At the local maternity hospital, Aynalem received no instructions on how to feed her baby nor advice about how to care for her son’s condition.

Once home, Uriel regularly aspirated, causing him to choke while feeding. This common yet avoidable challenge limited his growth and weight gain -- every nursing mother’s fear.

While out in the community one day, Aynalem met a young doctor who told her news that would change everything: Yekatit 12 Hospital, TF’s Partner in Addis Ababa, could help children like her son!

At Yekatit 12, Aynalem and Uriel accessed Comprehensive Cleft Care for the first time starting with counselling and feeding demonstrations. Aynalem quickly put this into practice and Uriel finally started to gain weight while his overall health also improved.

Uriel responded well to his first surgery at 6 months of age. Remembering the seemingly hopeless days following Uriel’s birth, Aynalem can hardly get over seeing her son smile.