Our Work in Ethiopia

With rapid population growth, the need for accessible cleft care in Ethiopia is increasing. TF has long partnered nationally to move sustainable cleft care forward.

Sebrina, born with cleft lip and palate, poses with her mother before her appointment.

Cleft Care in Ethiopia Today

Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous country, yet access to comprehensive care is limited to a few hospitals in the central region. National priorities for healthcare also focus on communicable diseases that burden the system, leading to cleft being underserved. Many families are not aware of cleft as a condition and beliefs around the cause of the condition can create social stigmas.

Transforming Faces is partnering to advance access to Comprehensive Cleft Care in key hubs and ensure that ongoing care is attainable for families living outside the capital city.

Fast Facts

  • Population: 123,300,000
  • Capital: Addis Ababa
  • Below Poverty Line: 31%
  • Cleft Incidence: 4,000+/year

Key Challenges

  • Key-Challenge-Transportation

    Transportation Assistance

    Comprehensive Cleft Care is limited to Addis Ababa and Jimma meaning families must travel very long distances and face lost wages to access care.

  • Community Engagement

    Community Engagement

    Regional conflicts have made community outreach a difficult task. Travel between certain regions can be unsafe for community workers and families.

  • Key-Challenge-Speech-Therapy

    Speech Therapy

    Speech therapy has long been a challenge with few qualified practitioners available in Ethiopia; the tide is turning on this with the first speech therapy master’s candidates graduating in 2024.

Ethiopia: The Context of Cleft Care

Accessible cleft care in Ethiopia is complex. 80% of Ethiopia’s 120 million people live in rural settings. In this video, hear from families who have accessed Comprehensive Cleft Care as a result of our long-term partnership with Yekatit 12 Hospital.

Program Successes


Patients received CCC treatment in Ethiopia through one of our local partner centres


Speech therapy treatments were provided in 2022


Families received transportation assistance to attend Comprehensive Cleft Care appointments

“Cleft happens to the most visible part of your body, so that is prone to many stigmas. The good thing is that the condition can be overcome and when you treat a child born with a cleft, the impact is not only for the child but also their family and community.”

- Dr. Mekonen Eshete, Surgeon & CCC Team Lead, Yekatit 12 Hospital

Stories from Ethiopia

Our Partners in Cleft Care

TF has been supporting partners in Ethiopia since 2007.

Our Partnerships in Ethiopia

  • Yekatit 12 Hospital & Medical College, Addis Ababa
  • CURE Ethiopia Children's Hospital, Addis Ababa
  • Operation Smile Ethiopia / Jimma University Medical Centre, Jimma
  • Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration / Addis Ababa University
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