World Smile Day: How Ghana’s Graft Foundation put back smiles on 1,500 faces through free surgeries

Michael Eli Dokosi October 04, 2019
A patient with cleft lip before and after surgery via

As the globe marks World Smile Day 2019 today – October 4 – Face2Face Africa touched base with Graft Foundation’s Dr. Brainerd Anani given they are in the business of putting smiles on the faces of deformed and deprived people by undertaking free reconstructive plastic surgeries.

In its six-year history, Graft Foundation has brought positive change to some 1,500 lives with free surgeries across Ghana’s 10 regions before the creation of an extra six in 2018.

According Dr. Anani, given that life was already gloom for persons with deformities as well as parents and guardians, citizens need to be circumspect when they come across people with deformities instead of mocking them.

Dr. Brainerd Anani via

“Many of the people the surgeries brought relieve to were suicidal, some even were planning to kill or throw away their deformed babies,” the Project Director and Managing Director revealed.

He explained the Graft Foundation made up of surgeons, nurses, anaesthetics and volunteers working with Ghana’s Health Ministry settle on a region and a hospital to undertake the surgery at a scheduled time. Publicity is then generated via the radio stations, distribution of leaflets, posters and social media to inform people about the impending procedures.

Persons with cleft palates, fused toes, extra digits (born with more than five fingers and toes) have been operated on and those with tumors and swellings. Others suffering from Hypospadias have an opening done under the tip of the penis to enable them relieve themselves as did females whose openings weren’t well formed.

Although the plan is to undertake reconstructive plastic surgeries across West African states, the team has generally operated in Ghana and La Côte d’Ivoire.

Graft Foundation’s work is crucial, especially when in Ghana “there are only 13 plastic surgeons,” Dr. Anani disclosed, noting “when the foundation started work, there were only eight.”

“The surgeries we undertake freely for marginalized people in the country should have received government support but support from the state is not forthcoming, however, were the same surgeries executed by a foreign body, the state would have offered support in various ways,” Dr. Anani pointed out to Face2Face Africa.

To enable it undertake the free surgeries, the foundation has enjoyed support from corporate bodies including the Later Day Saint charity, Petrosol and Goil.

Dr. Oheneba Owusu-Danso via

Ghana Reconstruction of Anomaly and Trauma Fund (GRAFT) Foundation was founded by Dr. Kwame Abrokwaa-Yankyere; a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon and Chairman of Graft Foundation.

The first Friday in October each year is celebrated as World Smile Day. This year, the day fell on Friday, October 4. The day inspired by commercial artist; Harvey Ball is to put smiles and show kind acts throughout the world. 


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