World’s largest cleft organization Smile Train was feted at the 8th edition of the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA 2022) in the Special Award Category for excellence in creation of the first cleft E-Registry in Nigeria and the deployment of the cleft finder App.
Speaking while receiving the award, the Smile Train, Vice-President and Regional Director for Africa Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi, acknowledged the long journey ahead in providing quality healthcare for all.
She expressed commitment from Smile Train to continuously innovate ways for decision makers to make evidence-based policies to ensure patients have access to safe, quality and comprehensive care.
Smile Train, in a statement made available to SUMMIT POST by its Communications Manager in Africa, Emily Manjeru, said: “Lack of proper surgical infrastructure, high cost of treatment, and poorly trained medical professionals are some of the barriers that hinder access to safe surgery in Low-to-middle income countries. Research and innovation have created entry points to advocating for access to safe surgical and anaesthesia care at local level.
“We are in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health to strengthen surgical systems which has a ripple effect in the overall improvement of local health systems. The cleft e-registry is unique way for our medical professionals to collect data and use it for policy development.
“The Cleft Care Companion enables anyone anywhere to identify and refer a patient with cleft to the nearest Smile Train partner hospital as well as educate the user on cleft”.
The Cleft e-registry went live in February 2022 as part of implementing the National Surgical Obstetrics Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP) in Nigeria. The personnel working on the platform received training and equipment such as laptops and tablets to monitor, troubleshoot and solve any challenges that may occur. To date, Smile Train has registered 562 patients out of whom 175 have received surgery. The data collected has empowered policy and decision makers to make evidence- based impact in the society.
The Cleft Finder App now called the Cleft Care Companion App which is also revolutionizing identification and referral of patients with cleft, has been more successful in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The application which is available on Android and IOS app stores will launch in Nigeria soon.
According to research by the Lancet Commission, an estimated 85 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa will develop a surgical condition by the age of 15 years. They risk permanent disability or death without receiving early surgical intervention.
She added that, “Smile Train is keen on driving innovation as a torchlight to our healthcare sector to provide safe, timely, high-quality surgical services and comprehensive cleft care in the local community all year round. We thank the organizing committee for NHEA for acknowledging our contribution to service delivery”.
Smile Train has active cleft care programs in 41 countries across Africa with more than 245 partners and over 255 partner hospitals across the continent. Through strategic partnerships at the local and international level, Smile Train dedicates itself towards providing funding towards quality healthcare capacity building and advocacy to increase access to safer surgeries and cleft care in low- and middle-income countries.