The federal government in collaboration with Smile Train, a global cleft charity organization has launched a cleft e-registry platform aimed at mapping out patients with cleft to enable them have access to quality care.
The duo also commissioned their partnership in the implementation of the National Surgical, Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP), with the aim to strengthen the healthcare system in the country.
Speaking while presenting the Smile Maker plaque to the minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Smile Train Program Director for West and Central Africa Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi noted that the commissioning of NSOANP will accord healthcare workers in the country with the capacity to provide high quality care in their communities.
According to a statement signed by the Public Relations and Communications Manager Africa , Smile Train, Emily Manjeru, Mrs Obi lamented the plight of cleft patients in Nigeria stressing that it was unfortunate that huge backlogs of cleft patients in Nigeria are living in isolation.
She added that the patients who often suffer stigmatization have the potentials to serve the country when treated.
“We need to equip our medical professionals with basic life-saving skills that meet the needs of under-served communities. Smile Train’s model of teaching a man to fish looks at holistic care of patients.
‘’Similarly, the establishment of E-Registry for Clefts and Surgical Surveillance and Referral System gives us reliable data to promote local research aimed at developing evidence-based policies surrounding clefts and surgical care,” Mrs. Obi noted.
On his part, the Dr. Ehanire while commending Smile Train for the impact made over the years added that the partnership will have a ripple effect on the quality of healthcare services.
“Smile Train scalable sustainable approach to cleft care has demonstrated goodwill in developing and strengthening the expertise of our healthcare providers, having transformed the lives of more than 27,000 cleft patients over the last decade,” noted Dr. Ehanire.
Also, the Co-Chairperson for NSOANP, Prof. Emmanuel Ameh, underscored the need for a multi-faceted approach like bringing policy makers, healthcare providers and development partners, to the table in ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare, with financial risk protection.
“The NSOANP framework brings together healthcare providers in diverse fields, with government support to lay a strong foundation for policy development, with greater emphasis in scaling healthcare to reach the last mile patient.
Strengthening surgical care has the unique advantage of strengthening the entire healthcare system in the country. The presence of government restores confidence to being more patient centric,” Prof. Ameh said.
According to the Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery, two-thirds of the world’s children lack access to timely, safe, and affordable surgical care this is an estimated 1.7 billion children. Treatment of cleft is free, and transformation is immediate, so the patient can eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive.
To address this need, Smile Train recently committed to upgrading Armed Forces Specialist Hospital, Kano, Lagos University Teaching Hospital and National Orthopaedic Hospital Enugu by providing a Children’s Operating Room (KidsOR) for each of these hospitals.
Smile Train has been actively supporting programs in Africa since 2002. In that time, the organization has developed local partnerships with more than 245 partner hospitals and about 255 medical partners in 40 countries throughout Africa to provide free cleft treatment. To date, Smile Train’s local medical partners have provided more than 120,000 life-changing cleft surgeries across Africa.
Smile Train’s scalable and sustainable model of investing in training and resources to treat cleft has a proven positive impact on the quality of care provided at local communities.
The Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in December 2020 followed progressive engagement in which Smile Train participated at the NSOANP Stakeholders Implementation meeting in Abuja in February 2020.