Cleft Lip, Palate
A child with a cleft lip and palate.

Cleft Lip, Palate: Organisation Funds Repairs For Children’s Day


According to Smile Train, Nigeria, it has successfully performed over 30,000 cleft lips and palate repairs in Nigeria, and through the assistance of its Sing and Smile clubs, is also helping to create safe spaces for children with cleft lips and palates that are undergoing speech therapy.

Mr. Paul Lobi, Smile Train’s helpline officer, Nigeria, spoke at the Sing and Smile Club Children’s Day Concert, in Ibadan, and said that the concert was the Smile train team’s way of identifying with children with cleft lip and palate on that day.

He said that the purpose of Sing and Smile club in three hospitals, which was originally created as an upshot of the organisation’s psychosocial support, was to complement the free surgical care for children with cleft lips and palate.

“We are not just focusing on quality surgery; we are also into other programmes such as the speech rehabilitation and nutrition programme. The Sing and Smile Club, which is an upshot of our psychosocial support programme is to create a platform where the children can express themselves. We hope that the activities of the Sing and Smile Club will also help in their speech development. There are plans to scale up to other partner hospitals so that more children can have a platform to express themselves.”

Professor Jesse Otegbayo, UCH’s Chief Medical Director, spoke through Dr. Taiwo Soyinka, the hospital’s deputy chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (Clinical Services), and stated that the Sing and Smile club children’s day concert brought smiles to the faces of these children who were born with a cleft lip and palate, thereby improve their psychosocial wellbeing.

He declared that the birth defect usually made the children have speech and eating problems and they are unable to smile, thereby causing them many psychosocial problems, including anxiety, low self-esteem, unhappiness and socially timidity.

He said, “a smile warms the heart; having a smile improves an individual’s psychosocial well-being. The sing and smile club is providing them social support and when a child sees that I am not alone with the problem, he or she will feel better.”

Professor Juliana Taiwo, the Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Ibadan, stated that SmileTrain’s efforts to restore smiles to these children’s faces through its free surgical correction of the birth defect and its Sing and smile club have gone a long way in improving the children’s quality of life and ensuring they are restored into the society free of stigma and discrimination.

Professor Odunayo Oluwatosin, Lead, UCH’s Smile train team, said that many centres have already started performing cleft lip and palate repairs ever since the Smile train started in Ibadan about two decades prior to ensure repair of cases.