South West zone stakeholders in cleft care have called for the establishment of a comprehensive cleft treatment centre in the zone, noting that it would tremendously help improve patients’ treatment.
Making the call through a press statement made available to PUNCH HealthWise on Wednesday, chairperson of the South-West zone of the National Cleft Stakeholders Meeting, Prof. Mobolanle Olugbemiga Ogunlewe said it has become imperative to create better awareness on the nature of cleft lip and palates.
Prof. Ogunlewe also stressed the need to standardise treatment for patients with cleft and related health issues.
According to Mayo Clinic, cleft lip and cleft palate are openings or splits in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth (palate) or both.
Cleft lip and cleft palate, it says, result when facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby don’t close completely.
Mayo Clinic noted that cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects.
“They most commonly occur as isolated birth defects but are also associated with many inherited genetic conditions or syndromes. Having a baby born with a cleft can be upsetting, but the cleft lip and cleft palate can be corrected. In most babies, a series of surgeries can restore normal function and achieve a more normal appearance with minimal scarring,” it said.
Ogunlewe who is also a Consultant Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital disclosed that stakeholders in cleft care from the South West Zone recently met and agreed on a number steps that should be taken to improve treatment of the health condition in the zone.
Ogunlewe who is also the Coordinator, Smile Train/LUTH Cleft care Programme stressed that aside from the urgent need to have a regional centre for comprehensive cleft care, there is also a need to standardise treatment centres and surgeons carrying out cleft surgeries.
“Partners within the zone should also collaborate in patient referral and management to optimise the effective use of the high standard of capacity available in different centres,” she said.
Ogunlewe said cleft care stakeholders in the South-West zone meeting discussed how to improve access to cleft care and strengthen the role of health education officers in cleft treatment.
The stakeholders, she said, are committed to sustaining comprehensive cleft care in the South-West and will be working on improving awareness and community mobilisation for the health condition.
Stakeholders in the zone, she said, are working with Smile Train, a non-governmental organisation that has been partnering with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and had been supporting cleft care in Nigeria since 2007.
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