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Environmental factor, others capable of causing cleft – Surgeon

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A Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Professor Olugbenga Ogunlewe, has listed genetic abnormality, environmental factor and malnutrition as some of the causes of cleft palate.

Ogunlewe said this at the 2021 South-west cleft stakeholders’ meeting held in Lagos recently to scale up cleft care services in the zone.

She said, “The causes of cleft and lip palate are not fully understood but there is a basic knowledge as to what causes cleft and it is multi-factorial. The main thing is that there is a genetic abnormality and there are also environmental factors, that is what the mother is exposed to during pregnancy, radiation, lack of certain food nutrition and then the genetic aspect too has to be there. So, those are the causes of cleft palate.”

Ogunlewe, who is also the South-west coordinator of Smile Train also explained that the meeting would birth collaboration between centres to ensure an excellent surgical procedure, was in place across the region.

“Smile Train has been supporting us with cleft care services for some years and we have seen that we have made some improvement in the care of patients but we observed that not all the centers are at the same level in terms of cleft care.

“From the meeting, we discovered that is the need to audit our care, and see how well we are doing in cleft care services in the southwest zone. We have emphasised the need to collaborate more with each of the centres.

“We also decided that partners should learn to collaborate with centres that have a larger number of cleft care cases or centres that are doing better so that some difficult cases that they cannot do at one centre will be referred to another centre. We also understand that there is the need to do training and retraining among ourselves so that we will be able to improve our skill,” she said.

Also, a Paediatric Surgeon, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Dr Justina Seyi-Olajide, said, “Smile Train has leveraged on the importance of data to provide a cleft and surgery e-registry. What that is meant to do is to provide a database for cleft conditions and other surgical conditions within the country from the pre-surgery phase to the post-surgery and discharge phases taking into cognisance complications, outcomes and eventually scale up to involve the population-based burden of surgical conditions.”


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