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

Experts Seek Extensive Care For Cleft Lip, Facial Deformities

The Nigerian Association for Cleft Lip and Palate (NACLIP) has called for increased efforts towards ensuring comprehensive care for persons suffering from cleft lip and facial deformities in the country.

President of the association, Professor Fadekemi Oginni, made the call yesterday in Abuja during the fourth Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Association in Abuja.

It was themed ‘Building Holistic Approach to Cleft Lip and Palate Care in Nigeria: From Surgery to Rehabilitation and Beyond.’

Professor Oginni said care for patients goes beyond just surgery to rehabilitation, adding that all hands must be on deck towards providing the required support for their full recovery.

She said this is important, “As we evolve from the days of patients receiving cleft lip repair and disappearing with their palatal defect, to more patients turning up for palate repairs, and failing to show up for necessary post-operative rehabilitation care.

“Of necessity, we need to move on with rehabilitation and assessment of our patients’ quality of life thereafter. We have also come to a point where we know it’s not all about surgery but the patients’ eventual rehabilitation.”

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She said the association has carried out many activities to create awareness on cleft and palate care in the country.

She enjoined members to strive for the utilisation of artificial intelligence in their practice, saying that is the direction the whole world is going.

Dr. Seidu Bello, Chairman, Local organizing committee of the conference said cleft and facial deformities could be corrected, adding that creating awareness on that would help reduce stigma about the condition.

He called for increased awareness and sensitization on the availability of cleft services across the country so that people, particularly those in rural areas are not left confused on where to access care.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Adebiyi Olufunsho, called on Nigerians to support the ministry, NACLIP and other cleft and facial deformities-focused organizations towards providing care for sufferers.

He said sufferers are in dire need of early intervention as the condition causes them low self-esteem, and also affects them morally, clinically and emotionally among others.

“We expect these interested people to approach this association through the Federal Ministry of Health, for kind financial support to the patients because the cost of surgery and other care are extremely high,” he said.