September 19, 2021


Africa's Media Giant

Cleft Lip: Smile Train trains 12 experts to strengthen research

By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
Smile Train, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has trained no fewer than 12 middle and senior researchers on the fundamentals of cleft research, grants writing and publication in the six geo-political zones of the country.
The group’s Vice-President and Regional Director for Africa, Mrs Nkeiruka Obi, disclosed this on Friday at the end of the five-day training in Abuja.
She said that the essence of the training was to develop good treatment protocols for people with cleft and good policies to strengthen the healthcare system.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that cleft lip is an opening or split in the upper lip that occurs when developing facial structures in an unborn baby don’t close completely.
Cleft lip may be unilateral or bilateral, as a baby may experience a cleft in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate).
Obi added that the importance of research and data to the development of good treatment protocols for people with cleft could not be
She explained that the difficulties in assessing credible data to aid intervention in cleft care in Nigeria would soon be a thing of the past.
According to her, the National Surgical Obstetrics Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan for Nigeria (NSOANP), with support from Smile Train,
have committed to boosting capacity of professionals in carrying out research on cleft.
She maintained that research on cleft had over the years not received the desired attention in Nigeria to guarantee effective intervention in any spheres.
“Research is a spectrum, so we are looking at the preventive measures, treatment models/protocols and the rehabilitative aspect of cleft care.
“The moment a baby is discovered to have a cleft, research will pick it through prenatal diagnosis, when the child is born and when the child will undergo surgery”, Obi said.
Prof. Emmanuel Ameh , the Chief Consultant Pediatric Surgeon at National Hospital Abuja (NHA), who served as Lead Facilitator at the training, lamented the dearth of funds to enable the government to fund research.
He added that there was need to generate quality data that would better improve the quality of cleft care in the country.
He said “the major problem we have in this country is that research is expensive and government does not have that kind of money to fund it.
“So, we want to train people on how to write good research grant proposals that will capture the attention of development partners to fund it because it takes some expertise to win grants.
“There are plans to scale up the training in view of the number trained. The plan is to gradually roll out the training across all geopolitical zones in the coming months and years.
“The strategy adopted by NSOANP is that, those that have been trained will be followed up and continue to be mentored and with support from Smile Train, step down the training in their various locations.”
Participants said the training had widened their skill on research and expressed confidence that they would come up with fundable research
proposals. (NAN)
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