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Cleft experts seek improved cleft research

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Dayo Ojerinde

Experts in the cleft care space have stressed the need for improved cleft research.

The experts, according to a statement on Thursday, spoke at the 2nd Fundamentals of Cleft Research, Grants Writing and Publication Hybrid Training organised recently by Smile Train, world’s largest cleft charity organisation, in partnership with the National Surgical, Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan for Nigeria.

A Professor and Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at the National Hospital, Abuja, Prof. Emmanuel Ameh, said most birth defects which are diagnosed before a child is born are about 85 to 99 per cent accurate.

He noted that research could help with accuracy in detection of cleft before birth, calling for more in-depth quality of the data.

“With these improvements, we can make sure that the mother gets the right counselling, deliver at the right place with the right information.

“We need to develop research that will help us to improve the quality of our outcomes in cleft care. For instance, though causes of cleft are still unknown, properly funded research will help us come close to identification of common environmental factors which we can address and prevent,” Ameh said.

The statement added, “Smile Train has developed the Smile Train Research and Innovations Advisory Council at a global level which promotes collaboration among healthcare fields.

“In Nigeria, Smile Train is leading with the implementation of the National Surgical Obstetric, Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan which aims to enhance collaboration between government and healthcare professionals to enhance quality care reaching local communities.

“In advancing innovation, Smile Train has rolled out the cleft e-registry to help collect data on cleft occurrences in Nigeria. Smile Train continues to dispel myths and misinformation surrounding cleft, providing funding, training and resources to medical professionals, empowering them to offer free, safe, timely and comprehensive cleft care all year round within the community.”


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