Craniofacial tumours, cleft lip and cleft palate, and ear-nose-throat diseases are life-threatening conditions for children and adults throughout Africa. An uncorrected cleft palate makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a baby to nurse or drink from a bottle. Untreated benign facial tumours can grow to so large that they can even asphyxiate the patient. Most often any major facial deformity results in the sufferer becoming a social outcast.
Benign tumours, chronic ulcers, severe wound scars and especially burn contractures (a tightening of the skin that restricts movement) are all prevalent in countries where machetes are common and open fires are used for cooking by the majority of the population.
Because of superstitions even hernias and goitres that are not greatly hindering physical activity can cause sufferers to be ostracised by their local communities, preventing children from attending school and adults from being able to work.