Smile Train and the Tamale Teaching Hospital have formed a partnership to support children with cleft problems.
Some 15 nurses have received training from Smile Train on nurses’ responsibilities, cleft management, psychological care, post-operative nursing care, and feeding cleft children.
The nurses were drawn from various departments in the hospital.
Smile Train is the largest cleft-focused organization providing training, funding, and resources to empower local medical professionals in over 90 countries including Ghana to provide free cleft surgery and other forms of essential cleft care in the local communities.
According to Victoria Awazie, the Senior Programme Manager for Smile Train West Africa, the objective of the partnership with the Tamale Teaching Hospital is to build capacity of the health professionals in the TTH to provide best care to cleft patients.
She explained that it’s disheartening to have patients travel long distances to seek medical care. "In line with the objectives of Smile Train, our model is to build local capacity so that cleft can be managed within the facilities closer to the patients," Victoria Awazie added.
Dr. Yelibora Michael, a consultant maxillofacial surgeon expressed satisfaction with the thoroughness of the training. He hinted that the knowledge shared will benefit the participants in other fields, such as paediatric care, adding that the program "built the capacity of participants not just in cleft care." Dr. Yelibora further mentioned that other medical staff at the Tamale Teaching Hospital would also receive the training.
Dr. Yelibora was unequivocal regarding the prevalence of cleft cases in northern Ghana and raised concern regarding the general lack of awareness about the issue. He expressed his gratitude to Smile Train for all the support it had given the hospital. Dr. Yelibora revealed that Smile Train helped to equip the theatre with modern facilities and provided a sharpening machine for theatre equipment to the hospital.
A participant, Bernice Dery, a Paediatric Nurse at TTH, was full of praise for Smile Train for organising such a training for the selected staff. She expressed certainty that the training would enable them to offer thorough, in-person care both before and after cleft repair. "The training has prepared us enough to provide a comprehensive care to cleft patients." Bernice also called for more of such training and a lifelong partnership with Smile Train to extend the free surgery to people with cleft in northern Ghana.
On behalf of Management, Mr. Musah Salifu, the director of nursing services at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, expressed gratitude to Smile Train for choosing the hospital and for its assistance. He urged the participants to demonstrate the value of the knowledge they acquired by producing positive outcomes in the cases they will manage. Additionally, Mr. Musah pledged that Management would nurture the partnership with Smile Train for the benefit of both parties.