Smile Train offers free slit surgeries to 2,146 children nationwide


Smile Train, a non-governmental organization provided free surgeries and transformed the lives of 2,146 Ghanaian children across the country.

Smile Train is the world’s largest cleft-focused organization that provides training, funding, and resources to empower local healthcare professionals in 70 counties to provide free cleft surgeries and other essential care in communities. local communities.

Ms Nkeiruka Obi, vice president and regional director for Africa of Smile Train, who revealed this during the opening session of an ongoing media workshop in Kumasi, said her organization had partnered with the Ghana Cleft Foundation to conduct the surgeries.

The Smile Train is hosting the two-day workshop, the first of its kind in the country, on “The role of the media in raising awareness of slots in Ghana”.

It aims to empower journalists as key stakeholders, to increase community awareness about clefts and other essential care and services.

Ms. Obi explained that every three minutes a child is born with a cleft saying “since the cause of the cleft is not clearly identified, the possibility of it going away anytime soon is rare.”

“What this implies is that concerted efforts must be made to ensure that no child born with a cleft suffers any form of deprivation,” she said.

Undoubtedly, Ms Obi said the myth surrounding the cleft robbed a lot of correct information about the disease and mentioned poverty as another factor that hampered this course.

“For many families in developing countries, early surgery may not be an option, due to lack of financial resources, qualified medical personnel and other factors.

“Recognizing these shortcomings, Smile Train effectively stepped in to identify families around the world and provided them with safe and free surgeries so they could lead healthy and productive lives,” Ms. Obi said.

Smile Train, explained Ms Obi, began operations in the country in 2017, saying it needed active media support to double its reach in the years to come, putting more children on the track than ever before. of a better future.

“It is in light of this and bearing in mind the essential role the media play in achieving any goal that we seek to partner with you as key players in the Smile Train Comprehensive Cleft Care program. “she said.

She added that the NGO has trained many health professionals and continues to retrain them as a strategy to ensure quality cleft surgeries in the country.

Professor Peter Donkor, President of the Ghana Cleft Foundation, expressed his gratitude to the Smile Train for its continued support to the foundation to perform surgeries and transform the lives of split children in the country.

Professor Donkor, also president of the West African College of Surgeons, said he hoped participants would gain the knowledge to position them well to impact local communities.

Dr Solomon Obiri Yeboah, surgeon at Kumasi Komfo Anokye University Hospital (KATH), said an estimated 300-400 cleft cases were recorded in the country each year, adding that there was also a backlog of untreated cases.

He expressed concern about the stigma and discrimination against patients and their mothers due to superstition and well-founded myths and theories associated with the split in Ghanaian society.

Dr Yeboah, senior specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery, said although the causes of the cleft are unknown, it remains a medical problem and called on the media to step up public education to help control the stigma .

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