OHAI Sets record; Performs 174 Surgeries in 4 Weeks
Smiles have come on the faces of over 170 suffering from cleft in Nigeria through the initiative of Oral Health Advocacy Initiative (OHAI), in collaboration with a USA charity body, Smile Train and the Federal Ministry of Health.
OHAI is a Non-Governmental Agency that seeks to advance the course of Oral Health delivery in Nigeria and Africa, through Advocacy, Strategic Partnership, Community Mobilization, Oral Health Education, Consultancy Services and Treatment of Oro-facial Diseases.
According to the Executive Director of Oral Health Advocacy Initiative, Dr. Ver-or Ngutor, explained that the feat was achieved through a strategic partnership with Smile Train and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).
Dr. Ver-or who is a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeon and lead surgeon further disclosed that the cleft surgical operations which were performed on 174 patients in four weeks was done by a team of Doctors and other health workers trained on cleft management.
“We as an organization have over the years mobilized resources to address the challenges of cleft amongst our people. We have our operations spread across 32 states and the Federal Capital Territory and are determined to reach to as many patients that are affected by cleft.
“From 2011 when we commenced cleft surgery program, we have done over 3500 safe surgeries. This was recognized in 2017 when our major donor, Smile Train named us ‘Global Leader in Cleft Care in Africa’ for complying with best practices.
“In the month of August 2019 alone, we were able to successfully carry out 174 surgeries with the support of the Benue, Kebbi and Yobe state governments as well as Rano Health Care and Community Development Initiative in Kano state”, he stated.
Dr Ngutor added that OHAI’s mission was to reach out to the undeserved rural dwellers that are hard to reach and neglected, since 90 percent of Doctors live and practice in urban centers while living a great majority of the populace unattended and at great risk of the ravages of Oro-facial diseases.
Cleft lip is a variation of a type of congenital deformity, caused by abnormal facial development during gestation period leading to non-fusion of the facial structure before birth, which impacts on the individual’s self-esteem, social skills, and economic isolation.
It would be recalled that Oral Health Advocacy Initiative recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Health to facilitate collaboration through the provision of technical assistance, capacity building, training, knowledge, and skill transfer to meet health challenges and partnership in professionalism.