Determined to ensure that cleft surgeries are done professionally to guarantee safety and better quality of life of patients, Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft focus charity has trained 25 non-physician anaesthesia across 25 hospitals across the northern region.
The 3-day training in Abuja according to the organisation was necessary in view of the critical role anaesthesia providers play in the cleft care eco-system.
Speaking during the training, Smile Train Programme Manager, Victoria Awazie, explained that the organisation places premium on training and retraining of all stakeholders in cleft care provision in line with its mission to ensure that all persons with cleft get safe and quality treatment.
According to Awazie, Smile Train empowers all those involved in providing cleft care and provides resources for surgeries to be done completely free for any person with cleft.
“To actualise the purpose of Smile Train, it invests in building the capacity of local medical professionals to enable them offer these services for free for the children born with cleft lip/palate.
“The Anaesthesia are the people that work with the surgeons in the theatre to put the patient to sleep before surgery and for them to wake up after surgery. Therefore they need capacity to meet up with the global acceptable standards.
“We train all professional involve in cleft care provision. This particular training is a refresher course and the number is 25 because we are complying with the COVID-19 protocols. Therefore, will be doing the training in batches all over the country” Awazie said.
She further disclosed that Smile Train has successfully done over 30,000 cleft lip/palate surgeries in the country for free in the last ten years of its operation in the country.
“Since we started in Nigeria over ten years ago, we have treated over 30,000 patients. The surgeries were done for free.
“Also we offer comprehensive nutrition cleft care where children born with cleft and suffering from malnutrition are given baby formulas and food to build and energies them: this normally help to increase the chances of survival during surgery.
“In addition, we also offer orthodontist care because in some children, their teeth do not align due to the nature of the cleft,” she said.
Cleft lip or palate is an opening or split in the roof of the mouth that occurs when the tissue doesn’t fuse together during development in the worm.
A participant from the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Kwara state, Maryam Abdulazeez, praised Smile Train for its commitment to training adding that her confidence has been boosted.
Also speaking in similar light, Salome Adamu of Berit Specialist Hospital in Suleja, Niger State said the training has added a lot to her career stressing that the patients will be the ultimate beneficiaries.