Smile Train to launch Africa’s first Cleft Leadership Centre in Ghana
By Onche Odeh
Nigeria can achieve complete Universal Health Coverage if surgical coverage is fully inclusive in a sufficient quality that is backed with adequate financial protection, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare in Nigeria, Prof Ali Pate has said.
This, as disclosed by Pate is a key component of the National Surgical, Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP), a five-year plan aimed at improving services in surgery, anaesthesia, obstetrics, and nursing. At the core of the plan is for appropriate surgical care to be provided for all adults and children at all levels of care, as well as enable all persons have access to safe and quality care with financial ease.
In his speech delivered by the Director, Hospital Services, Dr. Salaudeen Jimoh during the 4th NSOANP and National Cleft Care Stakeholders Forum held on Thursday in Abuja, the Minister said, “This strategic initiative serves as a beacon, guiding us toward an era where healthcare is not just a service, but a guarantee of quality, compassion and efficiency.”
Meanwhile, Smile Train’s Vice President and Director for Africa, Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi has called on stakeholders to leverage collaboration and innovation in elevating quality cleft care within the local community, using NSOANP as the platform to leverage on.
In her remarks delivered at the 4th NSOANP and National Cleft Care Stakeholders Forum, Obi said, “Smile Train is proud to support the implementation of NSOANP, which has put Nigeria as the reference benchmark for other countries across Africa.”
According to her, the prioritisation of perioperative nursing within the plan is a win for Nigerian nurses on the frontline of healthcare, saying, “The inclusion and prioritisation of children’s surgery is a victory for children’s surgery providers, as children’s surgical care would no longer be overlooked.
“The small steps that bring us together are a win for our healthcare system. The success of NSOANP creates an advocacy platform as we play our part in achieving Universal Health Coverage.”
Co-Chair of NSOANP, Prof Emmanuel Ameh, stressed that NSOANP is gradually but steadily changing the narrative for Nigeria’s surgical healthcare system.
According to him, the modest achievements of the last four years should be supported and consolidated to facilitate the realisation of Universal Health Coverage.
On his part, the Chair of NSOANP implementation committee, Dr Salaudeen, commended the experts for their tireless efforts to provide quality surgical services within the local community.
Dr Salaudeen, who represented the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare at the event, commended Smile Train for its support for NSOANP’s implementation process.
“Smile Train’s model of partnerships has laid the foundation for implementing NSOANP. Let us keep collaborating and sharing ideas on how best to raise the standards of surgical care in Nigeria,” Salaudeen who is also the Director of Hospital Services at the Ministry stated.
Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused charity organisation has developed local partnerships with more than 245 partner hospitals and over 255 medical partners in 42 countries to provide free cleft treatment since 2002. To date, Smile Train’s local medical partners have provided more than 170,000 life-changing cleft surgeries in the Africa.
The organisation has announced that it will soon launch Africa’s first Cleft Leadership Centre in Ghana to build the capacity of cleft professionals to dispense global standards of care at local levels.
Smile Train’s strategic investments in education and training include partnerships with Scottish Charity KidsOR, the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa and the West African College of Surgeons, to provide scholarships in various categories.