The Northeast stakeholders of smile train, an international organisation of USA, in partnership with National Surgical Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Nursing Care Plan (NSOANP) holds it’s annual stakeholders meeting in Gombe State at the Federal Teaching Hospital on 5th December, 2021
The meeting was themed, “Problem, Prospects and Challenges of Cleft Care in the Northeast”. The meeting was to appraise the activities of smile train in the past year and to look at the challenges and way forward for the region.
Dr. Akintububo Olugbemi Benedict, the Chief Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (BDS, FDSRCS, FWACS) and also the Smile Train Northeast Coordinator, commenced the meeting with an opening remark, where he welcomed all delegates and commended them for their efforts and selfless service in carrying out the mandate of the organisation.
From the last stakeholders meeting, the region inaugurated three committees to help them achieve goals and objectives of the organisation.
The committees are: fundraising committees, awareness committees and the research committee.
These committees have had tremendous successes from the inauguration, especially the Awareness committee.
The awareness committee has had successful campaigns and outreach. Thanks to the new bus provided by Smile Train, which has enabled the team to intensify awareness campaign in the grassroots.
The team has reached several remote villages and local markets. On one occasion, the outreach to a local market in Billiri LGA of Gombe State yielded 20 cleft lip patients.
The team are using several means to reach out to more patients. Currently, the team hosts a TV Health Talk Show every Tuesday on NTA and a Radio Phone-In Program every Saturday on Amana Radio.
The team has also secured approval for a digital media billboard to further increase awareness.
Smile Train has been equipping it’s team in the Northeast through training and supplies.
In this year alone, two in depth hands-on training has been conducted to equip doctors on modern and best practices of cleft lip and palate surgeries.
Doctors who have benefited from this training were full of praise for Smile Train for such avenue to further enhance their craft.
The first training was conducted in February 2021 and the second in November 2021 with 22 patients operated within a week of the training.
The statistics shows remarkable improvement and more patients reach in the past five (5) months compared to the last year. From July 2020 to June 2021, the team operated 105 patients.
But from July 2021 to November 2021, the team has already operated 67 patients and counting. This is an evidence that the team will double if not quadruple the number of last year’s operated patients this year.
The successes experienced in the Northeast region is a prove that the supports from Smile Train is really yielding results.
From the provision of consumables to new bus, nutritional support, orthodontic treatments, awareness campaign materials, training and provision of E-registry, the Northeast Smile Train has been amazing.
Moreover, the region is not immune to challenges. The major challenges of the region are insecurity and the Covid-19 pandemic, which is making it difficult to penetrate deeper axis of the states.
More trainings are also required, especially for non-Doctor personnel, as well as data collectors for each state of the region.
Despite these challenges, the Northeast Stakeholders remain resilient in reaching more and more cleft lip and palate patients with this golden opportunity of changing the world, one smile at a time.