Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft organisation and the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) has entered into partnership with the launch of the Smile Train-WACS Cleft Surgical Certification.
The partnership entered into on Tuesday would grant six surgeons per year over the next five years the opportunity to specialise in cleft care across West Africa.
The one- year Post-Graduate Programme is expected to commence in February 2020 as WACS would identify accredited centers to serve as training sites in Nigeria, Ghana and French West Africa.
The Certification is open to applicants in all West African and CEMAC zone countries with priority being given to trainees from countries without significant Smile Train presence.
Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Abuja, Smile Train Programme Director of West and Central Africa, Mrs Nkeiruka Obi noted that the care for cleft patients required more capacity building for surgeons.
This, she said would leverage the College resources to elevate the surgical expertise for local surgeons in the region as a baby is born with cleft every three minutes, globally.
“Smile Train sustainable model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local medical professionals to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities.
“Through this ground-breaking investment, we will enhance our interventions by establishing centers of excellence across West Africa,” Obi said.
Also speaking, the President of WACS, Prof. Serigne Magueye Gueye expressed optimism that the partnership would ensure that the local surgeons from the Certification match the global quality standards of cleft care set forth by Smile Train.
“We are dedicated to ensuring that we not only equip the local surgeons handling cleft, but also aim at establishing connections in developing other program areas of comprehensive cleft care such as speech therapy and orthodontics.
“Our highly skilled faculty will be sourced from local cleft surgeons and adjunct lecturers from relevant departments in the hospital in which the programme will be running,” Prof. Gueye said.
NAN reports that cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during fetal development.
Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both hard and soft palate.
To-date, Smile Train has supported more than 113,000 cleft surgeries across 38 countries in Africa. In addition to cleft surgery, they actively support training of nurses, anesthetists, surgeons, speech therapists and orthodontists in cleft care, nutrition programs, speech therapy and orthodontics.
Smile Train is a United States of America based cleft charity organisation that empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally.
The West African College of Surgeons is a professional organization that promotes education, training, examinations and research in surgery in Africa.
The college is the first organisation to organize surgical subspecialty training in the region. It awards diploma of Certification in surgery and is one of out of two bodies that accredits institutions to train surgical residents in member countries. (NAN)