By Chioma Obinna
A total of 100 persons in Lagos have been booked for free cleft lip and Palate reconstructive surgery. The exercise is being organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Health in partnership with Rotary International District 9110 and American-based NGO, Alliance for Smile.
Cleft lip and Palate congenital facial deformity leaves a gap or split in either the upper lip or roof of the mouth. The exercise will run for nine days.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said the gap in the upper lip or the roof of the mouth occurs when separate areas of the face do not join together properly during the time a baby is developing in the womb.
“A cleft can lead to feeding, speech and hearing problems, ear infections, dental decay, jaw development problems and psychosocial issues.
“Although the occurrence within Africa is minimal compared to Asia and other parts of the world, when they do develop they cause a significant degree of limitation in a child’s development, physically and psychologically,” he noted.
The free programme is aimed at improving the health status of Lagosians, by making corrective surgery for facial deformities accessible to all, especially the disadvantaged.
Most cleft problems can either be picked up at the routine 20 week scan or soon after birth.
Idris said the cost can be burdensome fas it involves not only surgical correction but rehabilitative therapy as well.
The Lagos State Ministry of Health has held free surgeries for the repair of the defect since 2006. Over 500 children and young adults have had their deformity corrected.
“The Lagos State Ministry of Health is partnering Rotary International (District 9110), and the American-based NGO, Alliance for Smile in offering FREE surgical repair of these clefts for its citizens. The programme commenced last week with a free screening of all patients that came forward in the preceding weeks to register for the programme, and thereafter a follow up screening was done on Monday, June 16”, Idris stated.
Age of eligibility for the surgical intervention is between three months and 15 years. Surgeries to correct the defects commenced Tuesday, June 17 and is expected to continue till June 25, 2014 at the Critical Care Unit, CCU, of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja.