By Chinedu Adonu, Enugu
In a bid to deliver quality healthcare service to Nigerians, SmileTrain said it has successfully done over free 28,000 cleft lip/palate surgery in the nation.
Speaking during a 2 day Nutritious workshop for mothers with cleft lip/ palate and dieticians at Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, SmileTrain program manager for West Africa, Victoria Awazie, disclosed the training was to empower mothers with cleft patients with practical knowledge on how to properly feed their wards to be able to meet require weight for surgery.
She disclosed that a child with cleft lip/palate should get a required weight before undergoing surgery, stressing that If the patient doesn’t have 10 rules which is SmileTrain protocol, the surgery will not be carried out.
“We are here today for training on nutritionist and cleft lip patients mothers to teach them how they could feed their children before and after surgery. If you look at some of the baby at the hall, a lot of them are malnourish and because their parents don’t really know how to feed them, the kind of food to give them. This training today is to empower them with knowledge and practically what they should do if such issue occur.
“The training is for cleft mother patients and nutritionist from South East and South South.
“Malnutrition is dangerous on children with cleft because it could lead to death after surgery. There is a certain weight that a patients must get to before surgery. If the patient doesn’t have 10 rules which is SmileTrain protocol, the surgery will not be carried out.
“In Nigeria we have done 28,000 plus free successful cleft surgery. In Nigeria, we have 34 partners that we are working with. We have different partners in the whole of Nigeria.
“SmileTrain offers what we call comprehensive cleft care. The nutrition which we are doing today, the children have to feed well before the surgery. The surgery will offer orthodontist which will take care of their dentition. After the surgery many of them don’t speak well and they still have to go through speech therapy programme to learn how to speak and pronounce words.
“The program will be coming in batches to allow us observe the covid-19 protocols. SmileTrain have materials that would guide families on what they should do according to what SmileTrain want from them”, he said.
Also speaking during the workshop,
Dr Ifeanyi Onah disclosed that the workshop came at the right time, stressing that many children with cleft lip/palate are prone to challenges of nutritional regain.
He disclosed that a child not well nourished would not have the 8% weight required before surgery, stressing that if such a person undergo surgery would lead to brake down of wound and prone to infection.
“The children with cleft lip/palate are prone to challenges of nutritional regain. So, aorgucal safety are tied to appropriate weight with age. Every surgery brings an insult to individual and individual have the capacity to bear that insult. If such a person is not well nourished he/she may not have the capacity to bear the insult. If that person is not well nourished, the person may not bear the insult that heals.
“The person also is prone to infection because he is not well nourished. SmileTrain insist that anybody who will have surgery must be appropriately weighted for age. He must have 8% of expected weight at that particular time of age. In instances where these children were operated outside this, you must notice that we have more cases where the wound is broken down.
“Today any surgeon that does such surgery have an in tricks on the wound brake down and increase in infection of the patient. The extreme of that is losing patient and the SmileTrain insist that before we do elective surgery, the child must have expected weight before we do the surgery”, He said.
One of the resource persons, Dietician Edna Achionye, in her presentation, called on mothers to take their children to hospital early after birth to start monitoring the child and guide the parent on how to sustain the weight with proper feeding.
Achionye, charged mothers to ensure proper breast feeding of their child, stressing that breast feeding is the complete food that every child needs.
She encouraged parents to ensure proper evaluation and monitoring of their child to avoid malnutrition.
“A nursing mother should breast feed her child constantly to increase their breast milk supply and give a balance diet to her child. You should be feeding your infant 1-3 hours to increase the supply and must be on demand not on your own comfortable time”, She said.