Children with cleft deformities in Anambra State will now have the chance of getting free corrective surgeries courtesy of a partnership between the state government and Smile Train foundation.
The pact was reached when representatives of Smile Train paid a courtesy visit to wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Mrs Nonye Soludo at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia.
Smile Train is a globally-recognized non-profit organization that has sponsored free corrective surgeries for thousands of children with cleft problems.
With headquarters in New York, United States of America, Smile Train was founded in 1999, and has grown into the world’s leading cleft charity, helping more than 1,500,000 children with clefts, training thousands of medical professionals in over ninety countries, and establishing hundreds of programmes in low and middle income countries.
Addressing the guests, Mrs Soludo commended Smile Train for taking the responsibility of giving children a new life, promising that she would be fully involved in both advocacy and mobilization to ensure that the programme succeeds in Anambra State.
The governor’s wife who restated her commitment to healthy living, explained that with the programme, children with cleft deformities in Anambra State would be freed from stigma and given the full confidence to reach their dreams.
On his part, the Commissioner of Health, Dr Afam Obidike said that the structure for both treatment and advocacy will incorporate the three hundred and twenty six primary health care centres in Anambra State, with final reference to secondary health facilities where the surgical procedures would be arranged to work effectively.
He assured that the ground is fully ready for the new health intervention, stating that the governor’s wife shares deep passion in issues that affect women and children.
Earlier in his remarks, the Smile Train Director in Anambra State, Professor Titus Chukwuanukwu, said that the programme started in Anambra State in April 2009 at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, with the incorporation of another health facility in 2014, both og which have offered over 500 cleft surgeries and now offer comprehensive cleft care-surgery, nutrition and speech therapy.
He said that the visit was to brief the governor’s wife on the activities of the organization as well as to ask for her involvement in advocacy and mobilization, to avert the difficulties that patients with cleft problems face in today’s society.
With the new partnership, Mrs Soludo becomes the Smile Train ambassador in Anambra State.
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