CLEFT – A DEFORMITY THAT HAS NOT GAINED MUCH ATTENTION AND AWARENESS

Cleft deformity is one of the epidemic conditions in India, China and some of the South African regions where poor way of life has given rise for these cleft deformities among generations.

Do people have enough information about cleft!

If concerning about India, the awareness and information available for cleft lip and cleft palate is much lesser, than we have seen organizations and other responsible bodies touting for other common diseases and conditions. For instance, we all know about AIDs, cancer, TB, malaria and other diseases that are playing havoc in putting people’s life at death at an unimaginable rate in India.

In India cleft is more pandemic in rural and tribal areas and when asked for their awareness about this, they blab very silly answers. And have some beliefs that make them restrained from seeking help for surgeries and care for the same.

It has been observed that very less number of people know about cleft as such, until they have seen such incidents around them. If not, they would never get to know what this cleft deformities are about and when and from where help and guidance for surgeries can be obtained.

To counter negative beliefs among people

If proper attention would be given, then it might help people to get to know about cleft deformities and relevant information. A fair knowledge and information for the same may help to anticipate the bad outcomes and deaths due to cleft deformities. It’s of utmost importance to aware public about it.

As per the issues available regarding the antenatal check up for women bearing child can decrease the possibility of birth with clefts. But, it all comes with a lots challenge to detect the possibility of the cleft incidence with the help of some molecular signaling. This will still be out of the scene for general public as it’s quite challenging and at the same time unaffordable. But a regular counseling for diet maintenance and other information if shared to every child bearing women, I hope the cleft incidences can be reduced to some extent.

Cleft centers providing surgeries

There are many well established and highly dedicated cleft centers available to provide surgeries for cleft children and adults. But again it comes the awareness about such centers in India.

Like that few cleft centers are there in Gujarat also, that is into providing cleft surgeries to the needy.

How active is governmental bodies for cleft awareness

There are not much cogent evidence where it has been noticed, that government hospital and other centers has given guidance and information for cleft deformity among their society. They are, I will say very active in spreading awareness for other diseases and conditions among rural and tribal population. But, nowhere cleft has been seen into scene, where as it has the ratio of 1 cleft child born out of every 600 births worldwide (number varies region to region).

As per the information available for the population in villages and districts in India, there should be many public and community health centers with well qualified doctors, trained nurses and other supporting staffs. But there are not many centers as per the population burden in districts, more on it; there is a shortage of trained and qualified team of doctors for such regions.

The main cause for this shortage and lag is our system, where not much attention and fund has been spent to overcome such burdens. All qualified doctors want to be in urban regions to earn and live a nice social life. Whereas a tribal and rural region does not support a life like that of city. This is one of the main cause why these conditions are more epidemic among people living in rural parts of the society.

If effective steps taken

It is possibly true, if planned and targeted actions taken; this may disseminate a note for cleft deformities and the surgeries available for the same. As children and adults has been seen walking at centers at the age of 10, 15 or more, it becomes shocking when we diagnose adults at this age and when asked why did not they seek operation for this before? They give piteous answers and reasons that points towards the feeble healthcare system of India.

If we see children getting operated and walking out of cleft centers and their family with much hopes that their child can live a happy life now. It really moves our heart when we see their ray of hope for future and a willingness to help others, if found in their society to avail surgeries by well qualified and trained doctors from our society.

Conclusions

1. Schools in rural and tribal parts of our societies should be informed about it. May be a pictorial representation of it will help them to know much better about cleft lip and palate deformity.

2. Government healthcare system should boast for cleft like they do for other conditions.

3. Proper fund utilization should be done to help out reach healthcare information and solutions to people residing in rural and tribal parts of our society.

4. If Disease Surveillance Network of India is improved and made more effective with some well plans to eradicate some of the issues from societies. This may help us to refine the healthcare system and to make people more aware about such hidden cases in their surroundings.

References:

1. Owotade F J, Ogundipe O K, Ugboko V I, Okoje V N, Olasoji H O, Makinde O N, Orji E O. Awareness, knowledge and attitude on cleft lip and palate among antenatal clinic attendees of tertiary hospitals in Nigeria. Niger J Clin Pract 2014;17:6-9

2. Chinomnso C. Nnebue, Chika N. Onwasigwe, Prosper O. U Adogu, and Ugochukwu U. Onyeonoro. Awareness and knowledge of disease surveillance and notification by health-care workers and availability of facility records in Anambra state, Nigeria. Niger Med J. 2012 Oct-Dec; 53(4): 220–225.

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