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03.02.2016 Health

Children with cleft lips must not be kept in hiding

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Ho, Feb. 03, GNA - Ms Sabrina Ghiddi, the Regional Manager of Operation Smile - Ghana, on Wednesday, said many children with cleft lips and palates in Ghana are being hidden from the public.

She said close observations indicated that such children were kept indoors and restricted to their immediate living environments due to superstitious beliefs and stigmatization.

Ms Ghiddi, whose organisation would be conducting free cleft surgery, in Ho in April, said a policy was needed to protect the dignity of those children.

She was interacting with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Ho.

Ms Ghiddi said people still believed children with those deformities were children of evil spirits and carried signs of bad luck, therefore, they must be kept out of the public view.

She said a good number of those children were not in school because of stigma.

Ms Ghiddi said parents of many of such children were unaware of the opportunities to correct those abnormalities while others were simply disinterested because of cultural beliefs.

Since 2011, Operation Smile Ghana has successfully operated 619 cleft patients in the country, for free.

A team of international and local surgeons are expected to fix at least 170 cleft lips and palates conditions in seven days during the April 2016 exercise.

Ms Ghiddi said there was no database on cleft in Ghana, however, about one out of 750 births in Africa record the deformity, the third most common birth defect in the world.


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