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Cleft Repair Surgery for Hilda: A Partner for Surgery Patient Story

By April 6, 2022May 13th, 2022Stories

Partner for Surgery health promotor provides support to Hilda's family as she awaits cleft repair surgery

Hilda was born on April 28, 2020, in Caserío Río Colorado, Purulhá Baja Verapaz, with a right unilateral cleft lip and a cleft palate. Partner for Surgery has been there to support Hilda’s family throughout the process of cleft lip repair surgery and as she awaits cleft palate repair.

When Hilda was born, her father saw that something was wrong. He saw her cleft lip and palate, and he abandoned the family. Hilda’s mother, Mirna, who suffers from Epilepsy and tends to have physical complications related to seizures, sank into a depression. Fortunately, Hilda’s grandmother has always been there to love and care for both Hilda and Mirna.

As many rural Guatemalan families do, they constantly struggle with poverty and food insecurity. Hilda, her mom, and grandmother live in a rural village with virtually no access to transportation. Their home is a hut with a dirt floor, built with corn stalks, walls covered with very old plastic to protect them from the wind and cold weather.

When Hilda was only three days old, Health Promoter Doña Marta visited the family for the first time.

Hilda and her mother with nutritional supplies from Partner for Surgery Guatemala

Hilda and her mother with nutritional supplies from Health Promoter Doña Marta.

“Since then, she has never missed one visit. Every month she brings milk powder and Incaparina [a hot cereal] for Hilda and monitors her health and nutritional status,” Hilda’s grandmother shared. “She has also taught us how to better care for Hilda.”

In June, 2021, Hilda’s mother and grandmother were able to travel to Antigua, Guatemala, where a Guatemalan doctor was able to perform Hilda’s cleft lip repair surgery.

After Hilda’s cleft lip repair surgery, her father, Francisco, returned to the family and began providing some financial help. Hilda’s grandmother says that Francisco works as a farmer and his major source of income is selling wood for fire. He earns Q.400.00 a month – the equivalent of $53 USD.

Now at nearly two years old, Hilda is growing healthy, walking, and living a normal life. Doña Marta continues to visit once a month to bring this happy little girl her nutritional supplies as she waits to receive her final procedure, the cleft palate repair surgery, later this year.

“Life has been very hard for us,” Hilda’s grandmother said. “But we have been blessed by having Compañero para Cirugia – Partner for Surgery Guatemala by our side.”

To learn more about how Partner for Surgery helps rural Guatemalan families to provide proper nutrition for their children as they await cleft repair surgery, please visit our Cleft Infant Nutrition page.

Related Reading: Infant Nutrition for Cesar: A Partner for Surgery Patient Story