The Smile Train Foundation in collaboration with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) on Tuesday sensitized people across the Ilorin metropolis to avail them on the free surgical interventions for people with Cleft lips and palate.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitization on free cleft lips surgeries is part of the activities organised to mark the 2023 Cleft Lip and Palate Awareness Week.
The theme of the Week is entitled: “Changing the World, One Smile at A Time”
Speaking at the sidelines of the sensitization walks, Dr AbdulRasheed Nasir, the Team Lead of Smile Train Partners explained that the foundation is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate.
According to him, millions of children in developing countries, including Nigeria, with untreated clefts live in isolation, but more important, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking.
Nasir observed that about 1.5 million children have benefitted from the Smile Train foundation free surgical interventions.
He explained that Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects, which happen when a baby’s lip or mouth doesn’t form completely during pregnancy.
According to him, Cleft lip is an opening in a baby’s upper lip, while Cleft palate is an opening in the roof of a baby’s mouth.
He stated that there is no known cause of the conditions, however adding that they may be caused by a combination of factors, including genes and environmental factors, smoking, drinking alcohol and diabetes, anti-seizure medicines among others.
The expert noted that one in every 700 birth will have the condition, while urging people not to hide their children with the condition.
He asserts that the condition can be corrected and people can live a happy normal life.
Nasir stated that the surgical intervention is offered at UITH free of expenses, while stating that over 200 people have so far benefitted.
“People should not hide their children or throw them away because of cleft palate, they should bring them to the hospital where they can be treated,” he said.