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Surgeon Decries Inadequate Facilities For Cleft Lips, Palate Deformity Surgery In Children

An Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Prof. Mobolanle Ogunlewe, has decried inadequate health facilities for the surgery of children with cleft lips and palate deformity.

Complete unilateral cleft lip
Complete unilateral cleft lip

Ogunlewe, of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, said this in her inaugural lecture held at the University of Lagos main auditorium which had “Changing the World, One Smile at A Time” as its theme. 

Cleft lip and cleft palate, also known as orofacial cleft, is a group of conditions that include cleft lip, cleft palate. 

A cleft lip contains an opening in the upper lip that may extend into the nose. The opening may be on one side, both sides, or in the middle. 

A cleft palate is when the roof of the mouth contains an opening into the nose. 

These disorders can result in feeding problems, speech problems, hearing problems and frequent ear infections. 

According to Ogunlewe, health facilities, especially for the repair of some health challenges such as cleft lips and palate deformity in children, for instance, have remain major challenges. 

She said that the Federal Government should enter into partnership with foreign and local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the treatment of most ailments. 

She added that such partnership, among other benefits, would increase awareness of such congenital anomalies, especially in children. 

The surgeon noted that with the partnership, there would be an improvement in surgical skills, training of more doctors and improved healthcare for children with cleft lips and other deformities. 

According to her, there is also need for early treatment of cleft diseases before a child begins peer interaction. 

“This will minimise the social discomfort such children may likely experience as they grow up. 

“Over the years, while it is always the desire of maxillofacial surgeon to restore smiles to the faces of patients, it often comes with some challenges and one of such challenges is arriving at the diagnosis of the disease. 

“Consequently, treatment may be delayed when the nature of the disease is not fully understood and this is coupled with the lack of appropriate facilities to aid diagnosis.” 

Ogunlewe also stressed the need for every individual to identify specific problems in their immediate environment as a way of making positive change in the community. 

She said “let us all join hands in figuring out what we can do to change every situation in order to put a smile on somebody’s face.” 

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a clinical specialty that overlaps two professions of Medicine and Dentistry.

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