300 Benefit From Lagos Free Cleft Surgery


As Lagos State began another round of its free Cleft Lip and Palate Corrective Surgery Programme in collaboration with Health, Education, Works and Shelter (HEWS) Foundation, the state government says at least 300 people have so far benefited from the programme.

And they have been re-integrated into the society since the inception of the programme in 2004.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris who disclosed this today when he visited the latest beneficiaries of the programme at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), explained that the number of beneficiaries of the programme is quite high compared to what is the case in other parts of the world.

“So far, we have corrected 300 cases of different types of mouth congenital deformities especially cleft lip and palate and this is quite a high number when compared with what is obtained in other parts of the world. I think this is one of the reasons organisations like Smile Train and HEWS Foundation decided to support us,” he said.

The Commissioner noted that the resources available to government will never be enough to meet all the state’s challenges hence government embraces every form of partnership for assistance that different stakeholders can offer.

“You will recall that in the past, we have had support from external agencies like Smile Train and this partnership is still on-going but this is another partnership from another organisation, HEWS Foundation, who believes in our mission and objective for this programme. This programme has given us an opportunity to provide services to the poor and the needy in our society especially the children and give them a better lease of life.”

He pointed out that the programme afforded government an opportunity to develop and build capacity, adding that apart from the surgical interventions, all other efforts put into the programme are geared towards re-integrating beneficiaries of the programme into the society.

Earlier, the Programme Manager of HEWS Foundation, Dr. Dotun Abosede noted that the collaboration was borne out of the objective and mission of his organisation’s commitment to help people live a healthy life, have good access to education, have decent shelter and help them to live out of poverty.

“In the areas of health, HEWS Foundation is primarily focused on giving free cleft lip and palate surgery to hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who may have to struggle through life without a smile. Many of these people are children and many of them might never be able to eat and feed well for the rest of their life if these defects are not corrected,” he explained.

He noted that the surgical intervention to correct these deformities only take between 45 minutes and one hour to restore smiles back to the faces of these deformed patients, stressing that the overall good to be derived by the deformed patients and their families informed the need for his organisation to step in to alleviate their sufferings.

In the same vein, the Lagos State Coordinator of the Programme, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe explained that cleft lip and palate is a congenital malformation that results from so many factors especially in relations to the formation of babies during pregnancy, stressing that it is usually due to problems in genetics when a child is being formed which could be attributed to the use of drugs during pregnancy especially drugs not prescribed by medical practitioners.

“Most of these patients have been ostracised by family, friends and the society and when we see them, we do a lot of counselling and the ministry goes as far as giving food, milk and nutritional supplements because a lot of them are nutritionally deficient and cannot feed well. We also hold meetings with their family and encourage them to send these children to school. We also continued to give free care to these patients even after surgery. These are some of the things we do to incorporate these children back into the society,” she said.

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