By Chinedu Adonu, Enugu
Respite is on the way for children born with cleft lips as the National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu in collaboration with Smile Train now offers comprehensive free surgery and palate care for them to patients across South East region.
The gesture was declared at a National cleft Stakeholders Forum, South-East zone, held yesterday at National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu.
With the theme, “planning for sustainable comprehensive cleft care activities”, the forum urged the people of the South-East to make good use of the opportunity provided by the free medical programme.
Addressing the meeting, the Chief Medical Director of National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, Dr Cajethan Nwadinigwe noted that the programme has offered hope for cleft lip patients in the South East as Smile Train partners the hospital to give free medical care to them.
He charged the stakeholders to make use of the opportunity created by the group to make more people have access to free comprehensive cleft care.
“It is hoped that this meeting would trace the gain and challenges of multidisciplinary cleft care in the South East region with a view to providing the solution to challenges that militate against factions that pose stumbling blocks,” he said.
In his remarks, a plastic surgeon at National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, Dr Ifeanyi Onah, called on the people of South-East to bring their children with cleft lip and palate to benefit from a free comprehensive cleft care programme.
Onah who is the founder of Smile Train, said: “Today is a good day because we are here to discuss how to make people who have cleft lip and palate know of the free comprehensive care which has been available for some time in the whole of South East and National Orthopedic Hospital and Good Shepherd Hospital are the hospitals where the free care has been running in Enugu”.
“My message to the stakeholders is that they have been trained on the operation and they have the patients; we want them to let those children know that there is a free care for those with a cleft lip. They need not keep those children in the house, need not neglect them or hide in shame”, he said.
Dr Onah who lamented the low turnout in the number of cleft lip patients since the exercise started in 2006, said stakeholders meeting was called because they don’t see many numbers of patients to benefit, adding that in every 100 birth, there is the tendency of getting one cleft lip/palate issue.