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WACS trains 6 cleft care surgeons yearly

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By Sola Ogundipe

AS part of moves to improve the care for children born with cleft lip and palate, no less than six surgeons are to specialise in cleft care every year from 2020 across Nigeria and entire West Africa.

WACS trains 6 cleft care surgeons yearly

Cleft lip and cleft palate are openings or split in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth (palate) or both. they result when facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby don’t close completely.

Cleft lip and palate are among the most common birth defects. The most commonly occur as isolated birth defects but are also associated with many inherited genetic conditions or syndromes. This development is courtesy of a partnership between Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft organisation, and the West African College of Surgeons, WACS, to launch the Smile Train-WACS Cleft Surgical Certification.

The one-year Post-Graduate Programme is set to commence in February 2020 in accredited centres serving as training sites in Nigeria, Ghana and French West Africa.

In the views of Emily Manjeru, Smile Train PR & Communications Manager, Africa, the Certification is open to applicants in all West African and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, zone countries with priority being given to trainees from countries without significant Smile Train presence.

Smile Train Programme Director, West, and Central Africa, Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi who spoke at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, which took place at The College in Lagos, said the care for patients required more capacity building for surgeons, hence will leverage the College resources to elevate the surgical expertise for local surgeons in the region.

“Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local medical professionals to provide free  surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. Through this ground-breaking investment, we will enhance our interventions by establishing centers of excellence across West Africa,” Obi noted.

The President of WACS, Professor Serigne Magueye Gueye welcomed the partnership and expressed commitment to ensuring that the local surgeons from the Certification match the global quality standards of cleft care set forth by Smile Train.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that we not only equip the local surgeons handling cleft but also aim at establishing connections in developing other program areas of comprehensive care such as speech therapy and orthodontics.

“Our highly skilled faculty will be sourced from local cleft surgeons and adjunct lecturers from relevant departments in the hospital in which the programme will be running,” said Gueye.

Globally, every three minutes a baby is born with a cleft. It occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during fetal development. Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both hard and soft palate.

Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally.

To date, Smile Train has supported more than 113,000 cleft surgeries across 38 countries in Africa. In addition to surgery, they actively support the training of nurses, anesthetists, surgeons, speech therapists and orthodontists in cleft care, nutrition programmes, speech therapy, and orthodontics.








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