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There’s cure for cleft lips children – Surgeon

Parents with children who have cleft lips and palate conditions have been advised not to keep their children at home but to seek medical attention for them.

“There is help here at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge Hospital) for such children for free and it can be corrected through surgeries”, the reconstructive plastic surgeon and Smile Train partner, Dr Charles Kwame Asiedu, said during the visit of the President and Chief Executive Officer of Smile Train, Susannah Schaefer.

Smile Train, which has other partners including Graft Foundation, is an international organisation focused on empowering local medical professionals to provide free cleft lip and palate surgery and comprehensive cleft care for children globally.

Stigma

Dr Asiedu indicated that due to stigma, some parents especially in the rural communities hid their children with such conditions in the home, denying them the opportunity to receive treatment which later affected their quality of life in future.

Smile Train, he said, over the past five years had been offering free treatment for children at the Ridge Hospital and, therefore, no child must be left to suffer such conditions which could affect their future.

“When you have such a child in the house, cost should not be a barrier, even nutritional care and therapy are offered. “Smile Train offers free food for these children to optimise the children for safe surgery”, he added.

Care

The care, Dr Asiedu explained, included speech and language pathology, dental treatment and psychosocial support among others.

So far, he said 70 children had benefited from the free services at the Ridge Hospital over the past five years. Meanwhile, about 2,500 children have reportedly benefited from the free surgeries since 2011 when the organisation started its operations in the country.

Currently, Smile Train is constructing a multipurpose facility comprehensive facility for cleft care in Kumasi which is almost near completion.

More Support

Ms Schaefer, who, in the company of the Vice President of Smile Train,  Nkeiruka Obi visited the country to interact with some Smile Train beneficiaries as part of the 25th-anniversary celebration of the organisation, expressed happiness for being in the country and was proud of the work of their partners.

She indicated that over the past 25 years, Smile Train had helped more than 1.9 million children who were living with untreated cleft lip and palate around the world. The Managing Director of Graft Foundation, Dr Brainerd Anani, said as an organisation, its partnership with Smile Train over the past 10 years has impacted many lives.

“We have done many amazing things, especially with cleft surgeries,” he said and commended the international organisation for providing the needed funds for the patients.

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