A Speech Therapist, Maryam Ibrahim-Maifada, has advised parents with a history of cleft lips to seek genetic counselling to prevent giving birth to a child with the condition.
She stated this in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna on Monday.
Cleft lip or cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly during pregnancy.
It is a condition in which the two plates of the skull that form the hard palate (roof of the mouth) are not completely joined and a baby is born with an opening in the roof of the mouth, leaving a hole between the nose and the mouth.
The therapist, who said that cleft lip can occur on one or both sides of the mouth, added that “this is because the lip and the palate develop separately, and it is possible to have a cleft lip without a cleft palate, a cleft palate without a cleft lip, or both.
“If you have a family history of cleft lip and cleft palate, consult a doctor before you become pregnant. The doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor who can help determine your risk of having children with cleft lip and cleft palate.”
According to her, cleft lip and cleft palate are facial and oral malformations that occur early in pregnancy, while the baby is developing inside the mother.
She, therefore, advised mothers to avoid the use of tobacco or alcohol, stressing that “alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy increases the risk of having a baby with a birth defect.
“A cleft lip is a physical split or separation of the two sides of the upper lip and appears as a narrow opening or gap in the skin of the upper lip. This separation often extends beyond the base of the nose and includes the bones of the upper jaw and/or upper gum.
“In most cases, the cause of the cleft lip and cleft palate is unknown. These conditions cannot be prevented. Most scientists believe clefts are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There appears to be a greater chance of clefting in a newborn if a sibling, parent, or relative has had the problem.
“Another potential cause may be related to a medication a mother may have taken during pregnancy. Some drugs may also cause cleft lip and cleft palate. Among them are anti-seizure/anticonvulsant drugs, acne drugs containing Accutane, and methotrexate, a drug commonly used for treating cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis.”
She said cleft lip may also occur as a result of exposure to viruses or chemicals while the fetus was developing in the womb. “In other situations, cleft lip and cleft palate may be part of another medical condition”, she noted.
She explained that cleft lip may require one or two surgeries, depending on the extent of the repair needed.
She said, “repair of a cleft lip often requires multiple surgeries over 18 years. The initial surgery is usually performed when
the baby is three months old. This is to create a functional palate, reduce the chance that fluid will develop in the middle ears, and aids in the proper development of the teeth and facial bones.
“Children with a cleft palate may also need a bone graft when they are about eight years old to fill in the upper gum line so that it can support permanent teeth and stabilise the upper jaw.”However, about 20 per cent of children with the condition require further surgeries to help improve their speech.”
COVID-19: WHO Vaccinates Over 1.4bn …Says 15 Countries Now Free From Mother To Child HIV Transmission
A report by the World Health Organisation(WHO) says it has vaccinated over 1.4 billion persons across the globe for COVID-19.
It also said it has given the world’s first malaria vaccine (RTS,S) to over 1 million children, as it hinted of plans to save 40, 000 to 80, 000 lives a year, when used with other malaria control interventions.
The report forms part of its 2020-2021 Results Report tracks of achievements across the globe.
Released ahead of the World Health Assembly next week, the report details accomplishments that include the delivery of more than 1.4 billion vaccine doses via the COVAX facility, the recommendation for broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine and WHO’s response to some 87 health emergencies, including COVID-19.
Between 2020-2021, WHO led the largest-ever global response to a health crisis, working with 1600 technical and operational partners, and helped galvanise the biggest, fastest and most complex vaccination drive in history.
The Organisation spent US$1.7 billion on essential supplies to the COVID-19 response, noting that, “even as WHO has responded to the most severe global health crisis in a century, we have continued to support our member states in addressing many other threats to health, despite squeezed budgets and disrupted services.”
Said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “As the world continues to respond to and recover from the pandemic in the years ahead, WHO’s priority is to invest even more resources for our work in countries, where it matters most.”
He continued, “Ensuring WHO has sustainable, predictable and flexible financing is essential for fulfilling our mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.”
The global apex body for health said the global rollout of crucial health materials included nearly US$500 million worth of personal protective equipment; US$ 187 million in oxygen supplies, US$4.8 million in treatments and 110 million diagnostic tests.
However, it pointed out that much remains to be done for the world to get on track for WHO’s target of each country vaccinating 70percent of its population by July 2022. The Results Report reveals noteworthy achievements beyond the pandemic that struck the world in 2020 and 2021.
Among these include the mandatory policies prohibiting the use of trans -fatty acids (a hazardous food compound linked to cardiovascular disease), are in effect for 3.2 billion people in 58 countries. Among these countries, 40 have best practice policies, including Brazil, Peru, Singapore, Turkey and the United Kingdom. WHO’s REPLACE initiative aims for a world free of trans-fats by the end of 2023. This success was attributed to implementation of measures mandated by WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, tobacco use is decreasing in 150 countries, saving lives and livelihoods.
Consequently, due to efforts to scale up life-saving interventions guided by WHO guidelines, 15 countries have achieved elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and or syphilis.
By: Kevin Nengia
Lab Scientists, Key To Effective Medicare – Expert
A prominent medical laboratory expert and lecturer at the Rivers State University, Prof. Barthemeus Ebirien, has underscored the importance of med lab scientists in health care delivery.
Speaking at a one-day Malaria Colloquium organised by Ekpirikpo Erens Health Foundation in collaboration with Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists in Port Harcourt, recently, the professor said any attempt to ignore role of med lab professionals may spell doom for the nation’s health care.
“ Any attempt to ignore them or play down on them is like surviving a ship wreck without a life guard “ Ebirien remarked.
The professor opined that med lab scientists are not adjunct in the health care delivery system but independent professionals whose role is key to health.
As key players in the health care system, he urged medical lab professionals to be proud and ensure their work was done ethically .
Meanwhile, Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Hon. Erastus Awortu, has pledged to support medical lab scientists in the operation of the revived General Hospital at Ngo, headquarters of the council.
Hon. Awortu, while thanking the body for the award given to the Andoni Council in fighting malaria scourge, also urged them not to relent in the quest to eliminate malaria.
The Andoni council chairman assured the health professionals that the area was secure and peaceful, as he pleaded for their support to help improve health care delivery in the area.
Using Water To Heal (Pt 1)
Let me begin by reminding you about some familiar things you know about water: Your body is about 70 per cent water. Your muscle is about 75 per cent water. Your brain cells are 85 per cent water. Your blood is approximately 82 per cent water. Even your bones are approximately 25 per cent water.
You can live five to seven weeks without food, but the average adult can last no more than five days without water.
So now you know that water is essentially part of your make-up. Water is the single most important nutrient for our bodies. It is involved in every function of our bodies.
Once your body begins to lack water, or dehydrated; it begins to ration water to some organs and that finally leads to serious system disorder or ailment.
The unfortunate part of this scenario is that many people do not drink enough water. Even me that is writing this, I hardly drink enough water. But the fortunate thing is that I try as much as I can to drink two sachets of our Nigerian,” pure water”.
First, once I wake up in the morning I make sure I drink a sachet and the second one can come during or in between meals. I know that is not enough for my body. And that is why I have decided to write about it.
I see many people jettison water after eating and end up using soft drinks or what we call” mineral” in Nigerian parlance to down their food. The habit is common among market women from my observation. I have equally seen sedentary office workers in the same habit of drinking soft drinks more than water.
So the question is what are the effects? A popular physician, F. Batmangheldj, in his book, “ Water for Health, for Healing, for Life”, pointed out that water is the main lubricant in the joints spaces and helps prevents arthritis and back pain.
Water increases the efficiency of the immune system. Water prevent clogging of arteries in the heart and brain, and thus helps reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. Water is directly connected to brain function – it is needed for the efficient manufacture of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
Water affects our appearance , making our skin smoother and giving it sparkling luster; it also reduces the effect of aging.
As stated earlier, many people prefer soft drinks and juice to water and end up damaging their system the more. Every sugary juice drain water in the body and makes you more dehydrated. That is why a bottle of your usual “coke” or any soft drink can not quench your thirst. As you drink more, you ask for more.
When once the juice and “ mineral” dominate the body, they begin to unleash many kinds of ailment since they lack the nutrient water provides to the body.
The result is that bodily sickness begin to emerge with more soft drinks. The body begins to ache from your knees, head, back, your blood pressure goes up and arthritis, constipation show up easily.
Water is key to addressing these ailments as we shall see in the next article. Why not begin today by drinking more water, at least four glasses a day.
By Kevin Nengia
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