Prof Dr Zubair Abbasi, Chairman, Cleft Lip & Palate Association of Facial Therapists (CLAFT) Welfare Trust, the other day revealed that the cleft lips and cleft palate cases are quite common in the rural areas of Sindh and are reported generally from low-income groups of society.
Prof Dr Zubair Abbasi is a specialist in the treatment of cleft lips & cleft palate – a field which is generally short of specialists. So, CL&CP cases, though common, especially in the countryside, yet receive less or no treatment as the patients are mostly those belonging to the very low income group and can hardly think of seeking treatment.
It is this plight and helplessness of the people that led Prof. Zubair Abbasi to form an association/ trust that would engage in providing free treatment to those needing it. It is totally a humanitarian cause in the service of the helpless and hapless people of a community.
Prof Zubair expressed these views while talking to media persons at the launching ceremony of free operation & treatment of cleft lip and cleft palate facilities at Saifee Hospital. According to him, CLAFT Welfare Trust and Saifee Hospital Trust Karachi, for the first time in the country’s history, have joined hands to provide treatment and operation facilities free of cost, to children with cleft lip and palate.
He explained that malnutrition, smoking, vitamins deficiency and socio-economic problems are the major reasons behind the occurrence of such cases in rural areas of the sindh province and other parts of Pakistan. Acute shortage of institutions, at government level, to treating such patients, has added further to the problems.
So, the launching of the Cleft lip & Cleft palate treatment and operation is aimed at providing state-of-the-art facilities to poor patients under one roof, and also because treatment of cleft lips & cleft palate is very costly and poor people could hardly afford its treatment. Surgery of cleft lips & palate is a team work.
Prof Zubair said there is a dire need of generating awareness among general public and that proper diet is a must for pregnant women to avoid such issues. “Prevention is better than Cure” because there is no institution in public sector in the province to handle such cases.
Dr Arzoo Azeem also said that ratio of occurrence of cleft lip & palate cases currently entails two-to-every 1,000 live births. She said cousin marriages, polluted environment and malnutrition of mothers are the causes of diseases like cleft lips, cleft palates in newborn babies.
She further said treatment of children with cleft lip & palate requires team work and this is hardly available in public institutions. Team of specialists like maxillofacial surgeon, plastic surgeon, ENT specialists, psychiatrist, dentist and speech therapist is needed while performing surgery of cleft lip and cleft palate patients.
Rehan Hashmi, member of the National Assembly, was a Chief gust on the occasion he noted that CLAFT Welfare Trust has started a noble task that must be appreciated. Need of creating awareness at public level about the issue is the need of the hour.
Guest of honor Dr Saif Ur Rehman, Deputy Commissioner District Central Karachi, apprehended people with cleft lips & palates may face socio-psycho problems. He also said Pakistan has missed the target of preventive vaccination so there is the dire need of expanding the scope of vaccination in the society.
Brigadier (R) Dr Ahmed Rashid, Chief Executive Officer, Saifee Hospital Trust, also spoke on the occasion stating that Saifee Hospital is expanding its extent and strength to cover more welfare services to the patients coming to the hospital for treatment.
Member Provincial Assembly Jamal Ahmed, Dr Aqeel Shaikh, head of KMDC Dental Hospital and Prof. Dr Farhat Jafry were also present on this occasion as special gusts.
A multi-talented personality Dr Areeba Alvi, who is also a team member of the CLAFT Welfare Trust, moderated the event with high spirit, saying that incidences of the congenital Cleft lip and Cleft Palate should decrease to zero percent in Central District. A pregnant woman in her first trimester should take special care at the time when fetal facial development is in process.
Teratogenic drugs, viral infections to a pregnant woman and hypoxia can lead to production of Cleft lip & Cleft Palate in a baby.
She further said that it’s very difficult to inform parents that the child has been born with such congenital anomaly.