An Introduction to the Cleft Lip and Palate Center in Aden
Many parents, especially those residing in rural areas, remain unaware regarding the necessary measures to be taken in such a situation: What is this? Where to go? What to do? Who to ask? are among some of the questions that strike parents whose babies are born with cleft lip and palate deformity.
To provide help and support to such parents and their children, the Cleft Lip and Palate (CLP) Center at the University of Aden started working in this direction in 2004. However, the Center was officially established in the year 2009at Al-Wahda Teaching Hospital in Sheikh Othman (Aden).This Center is affiliated with the University of Aden and the first of its kind in the region. And, though small at its outset, the Center providessignificant help to patients of CLP.
Since its establishment, the Center continues to provide free of charge services to patients, mostly children, suffering fromCLP deformities. Over the past years, despite all sorts of challenges, the Center works diligently toward raising awareness of the general public about the cleft lip and palate deformities. The Center has extended its services from receiving cleft lip and palate patients and providing them with counseling to treating them to following up their treatment, and documenting these patients in the center's data base. More specifically, the CLP Center provides the following services.
Receiving CLP patients of all ages and from different governorates and registering them
Providing counseling to patients and/or their parents.
Providing presurgical orthodontic treatment to these patients
Registering and preparingthose who need surgical treatment
Providing surgical treatment to these patients
Following uppost-surgerycare and treatment with the patients.
Providing educational opportunities for dental students from the University of Aden to observe CLP patients' treatment and conduct research projects
Conducting symposiums and group discussions on CLP
Publishing articles on cleft lip and palate to raise the Yemeni citizens' awareness
Supervising educational and awareness campaign on cleft lip and palate.
Throughout the past years, we have been fortunate enough to have the support of the University of Aden, the President of the University Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Habtoor,University of Rostock, DAAD organization,the Ministry of Health, and many generous donors who have continuously supported our modest Center.
In fact, the University of Rostock during the last eight years sent surgical teams to operate on CLP patients (mostly children). However, the last year, due to the instability in the country and security issues in Aden, the surgical team could not come. I have found this very disheartening as I receive calls from anxious parents residing in different governorates and inquiring about the arrival of the German surgical team.
The CLP Center has come a long way since its establishment; however, more still remains to be accomplished. We currently need a better self-contained location,equipment, and more and better qualified staff to provide help and service to the many Yemeni children born withCLP deformities. Our kids deserve better andI am hopeful that since we have come this far, we will extend our dream of seeing the CLP Center become one of the best nonprofit service providing Centers in the country and reach out to every child who needs us in every corner of Yemen.
Dr. AhlamHibatulla is the Director of Cleft Lip and Palate Center, and Vice Dean, College of Dentistry University of Aden - Aden. She can be reached through email: email@example.com