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Expert Advises On Cleft Lips In Babies

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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.”
(NAN)

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Research Shows Obesity Rising Worldwide

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A new research has shown that more than a billion people are living with obesity around the world as published in The Lancet show.
The figures includes about 880 million adults and 159 million children, according to 2022 data.
The highest rates are in Tonga and American Samoa for women and American Samoa and Nauru for men, with some 70-80% of adults living with obesity.
Out of some 190 countries, the United Kingdom ranks 55th highest for men and 87th for women.
The international team of scientists say there is an urgent need for major changes in how obesity is tackled.
Obesity can increase the risk of developing many serious health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Ranking global obesity rates (the percentage of population classed as obese, after age differences are accounted for), researchers found:
The US comes 10th highest for men and 36th highest for women
India ranks 19th lowest for women and 21st lowest for men
China is 11th lowest for women and 52nd lowest for men
Chart showing obesity data
Senior researcher Prof Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, told the BBC: “In many of these island nations it comes down to the availability of healthy food versus unhealthy food.
“In some cases there have been aggressive marketing campaigns promoting unhealthy foods, while the cost and availability of healthier food can be more problematic.”
Prof Ezzati, who has been looking at global data for years, says he is surprised at the speed the picture has changed, with many more countries now facing an obesity crisis, while the number of places where people being underweight is regarded as the biggest concern, has decreased.

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Five Die As Cholera Hits Lagos

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Not fewer than five people are reportedly dead and 60 others hospitalised following a deadly Cholera outbreak in Lagos.
Already the state government is calling for heightened vigilance and adoption of precautionary measures.
The state government in a statement yesterday urged the need to ensure that the disease is not spread, saying that an excess of severe gastroenteritis cases had been reported in Lagos in the last 48 hours.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi disclosed that cases of severe gastroenteritis had been reported in communities around Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Kosofe LGA, resulting in about 60 hospital admissions, and sadly five deaths had been recorded mainly from patients presenting late with extreme dehydration.
“We have activated a statewide heightened surveillance and response. The Ministry of Health Directorate of Environmental Health and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) have been alerted to investigate a possible water contamination source in the Lekki Victoria Island axis.

“We suspect a possible cholera outbreak; however, samples have been taken for confirmation. As of April 28, 2024, Nigeria reported 815 suspected cholera cases and 14 deaths across 25 states,” he said.
The Commissioner noted that following recent rains, Lagos State has seen a notable increase in cases of severe vomiting and watery stools, adding that urban slums and crowded areas with poor sanitation were particularly at risk.
Abayomi explained that cholera is a highly contagious disease that caused severe diarrhea and could be life-threatening, adding that it posed a significant health burden in areas with poor water treatment and sanitation, and could impact Lagos State.
“Cholera spreads through direct transmission by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, and indirect transmission due to poor sanitation and lack of handwashing. Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid dehydration, muscle cramps, fever and sometimes collapse,” he said.
According to him, treatment options for cholera include rehydration using Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) for mild to moderate dehydration, saying that intravenous fluids is used for severely dehydrated patients given only in medical facilities and supervised by medical personnel.
“To prevent cholera, citizens are urged to ensure safe drinking water by boiling, chlorinating, or using bottled water, and avoiding ice products made from untreated water. Maintaining proper sanitation by using toilets, safely disposing of faeces, and avoiding open defecation crucial.
“Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially before eating, preparing food, and after using the toilet, is essential and following food safety guidelines,” the Commissioner advised.
He enjoined citizens to rely on the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accredited local health facilities for guidance, advice, and updates on prevention, treatment, and management.
He added that suspected cases could be reported via the following emergency hotlines: 08023169485, 08137412348, or by using helplines 767 or 112.

Kevin Nengia

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WHO Raises Alarm Over Viral Hepatitis Epidemics, STIs

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says viral hepatitis epidemics and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are causes of  2.5 million deaths each annually.
According to a new WHO report titled,” Implementing the Global Health Sector Strategies on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2022–2030,” STIs are increasing in many regions.
In 2022, WHO had targetted of reducing the annual number of adult syphilis infections by ten-fold by 2030, from 7.1 million to 0.71 million, but new syphilis cases among adults aged 15-49 years increased by over 1 million in 2022 reaching 8 million. The highest increases occurred in the Region for the Americas and the African region.
Combined with insufficient decline seen in the reduction of new HIV and viral hepatitis infections, the report expressed doubt  to the attainment of the related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“The rising incidence of syphilis raises major concerns”, said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Fortunately, there has been important progress on a number of other fronts including in accelerating access to critical health commodities including diagnostics and treatment.
The WHO DG said tools required to curb these epidemics as public health threats by 2030 are available, but that there’s need to ensure that, in the context of an increasingly complex world, countries do all they can to achieve the ambitious targets they set themselves”.
Increasing incidence of sexually transmitted infections four curable STIs – syphilis (Treponema pallidum), gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis), and trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis) – account for over 1 million infections daily.
The report notes a surge in adult and maternal syphilis (1.1 million) and associated congenital syphilis (523 cases per 100 000 live births per year) during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, there were 230 000 syphilis-related deaths.
New data also show an increase in multi-resistant gonorrhoea. As at 2023, out of 87 countries where enhanced gonorrhoea antimicrobial resistance surveillance was conducted, 9 countries reported elevated levels (from 5percent to 40percent) resistance to ceftriaxone, the last line treatment for gonorrhoea. WHO is monitoring the situation and has updated its recommended treatment to reduce the spread of this multi-resistant gonorrhoea strain.
In 2022, around 1.2 million new hepatitis B cases and nearly 1 million new hepatitis C cases were recorded. The estimated number of deaths from viral hepatitis rose from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022 despite effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment tools.
New HIV infections only reduced from 1.5 million in 2020 to 1.3 million in 2022. Five key population groups men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender individuals, and individuals in prisons and other closed settings still experience significantly higher HIV prevalence rates than the general population.

By: Kevin Nengi

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