As part of efforts it’s disease prevention and treatment area of focus, Rotary International, District 9125 is offering a 12-day free cleft surgeries in Nigeria,in partnership with Rotary, a team of 17 medical workers from the United States , Canada and Australia has arrived Nigeria to perform free surgeries to correct cleft lip and palate in 100 children.
Nigerian Health Care Professionals will join in the 12-day surgeries at General Hospital, Ilorin from January 10 to 22. The programme is supported by the Mike Omotosho Foundation and the US-based Alliance for Smiles, and facilitated by two Rotary International Districts in Nigeria and the US and the Kwara State Government.
Dr. Omotosho noted: “Children with Orofacial cleft often have problems with feeding; speaking clearly and can have ear infections. They also might have hearing, breathing, teeth problems.
“The risk factors ranges between Smoking, Diabetes, poor nutrition and use of certain medicines, Women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy, such as valproic acid, during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy.”
He described surgery as important and life-saving but largely unreachable component of the services required to treat children with Orofacial Clefts.
“The opportunity to provide free surgical care for opens a new vista for public awareness, prevention, research and surveillance,” he stressed.
He said there was need to urgently invest in children with birth defects and reduce neonatal and U-5 mortality.
District Chair, Disease Prevention and Treatment, Dr. Segun Ajuwon called attention to the need to stop discrimination and stigmatization, noting it is an area of concern for people with cleft deformities is a concern too.
Dr. Ajuwon, who was former Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital Abuja, said all defects can be repaired with surgery.
He noted: “Surgical repair can improve the look and appearance of a child’s face and might also improve breathing, hearing, speech and language development.”
In a related development, Rotary International has called the Federal Government to provide a National Birth Defects surveillance to know the burden of birth defects, appropriate preventive measures, rehabilitation, free surgical, medical and rehabilitation for children with birth defects particularly those with Orofacial Cleft, and a children hospital.
To reduce incidences of birthday defects, Rotary notes as follows:
*Potential mothers should be well prepared and ready before getting pregnant.
They need to stop smoking and drinking while pregnant.
*Early antenatal care should be advocated and possibly made available for free
*Pregnant women should be persuaded not to take any medicines that have not been prescribed by trained professionals.
*Healthcare providers should not prescribe drugs for ladies without first ensuring that such a lady is or isn’t pregnant. Do pregnancy test if in doubt.
*Know that only a few drugs are safe in pregnancy especially in the first 3 months; NOT all antibiotics antihypertensives, antidiabetics antithyroid agents, anti-malarials are safe in pregnancy!
*Pregnant women working in industries where chemicals are used should report to their doctors to ensure minimal exposure especially in the first trimester.
*Parents should seek medical intervention when abnormalities occur. Children delivered at home should be taken to health centers for examination
*Medical insurance is imperative for all citizens so that people can present early in the hospital when they feel unwell without being afraid of hospital bills.