Smile Train empowers 25 anesthetists in Northern Nigeria

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Smile Train, an NGO has trained about 25 non-physician anaesthetists across 25 hospitals from the region of the country on cleft care provision.

The Programme Manager of the NGO, Mrs Victoria Awazie, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the organisation placed premium on training and retraining of all stakeholders on cleft care.

“This is in line with its mission to ensure that all persons with cleft get safe and quality treatment,’’ she said.

Awazie said Smile was empowering all those involved in providing cleft care with resources for surgeries to be done completely free for any person with cleft.

“To actualise the purpose of Smile Train, invests in building the capacity of local medical professionals to enable them offer these services for free to children born with cleft lip and palate.

“The anaesthetists are the people who work with the surgeons in the theatre to put the patient to sleep before surgery and for them to wake up after surgery.

“Therefore they need capacity to meet up with the global acceptable standards.

“This particular training is a refresher course; we trained 25 because we are complying with the COVID-19 protocols.

“Therefore, we will be doing the training in batches all over the country,’’ she said.

Awazie said that Smile had successfully done over 30,000 cleft lip/palate surgeries in the country free in the last 10 years of its operation.

“Also, we offer comprehensive nutrition cleft care where children born with cleft and suffering from malnutrition are given baby formulas and to and energies them: this normally help to increase the chances of survival during surgery.

“In addition, we also offer orthodontist care because in some children, their teeth do not align due to the nature of the cleft,’’ she said.

Cleft lip or palate is an opening or split in the roof of the mouth that occurs when the tissue does not fuse together during development of the mouth.

A participant from the of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Ms Lydia Yakubu, expressed satisfaction that the training had refreshed and broadened her knowledge not only on anaesthesia but also on paediatric anaesthesia as a whole.

“The training could not have come at a better time for me as I have attended training on basic lifesaving skills 10 years ago.

“The training has helped me in catching up with latest techniques and practices,’’ she said.

Another participant, Mr Otonoku Kokori, from Hospital, Abuja expressed delight for the training, saying would impact positively on him.