San Francisco’s Alliance for Smiles Returns To Lagos, Nigeria November 15 – 21
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San Francisco’s Alliance for Smiles Returns To Lagos, Nigeria
November 15 – 21
Rotary Support Is Vital for Trip to African Nation Featuring Teaching and Medical
Mission Helping Children with Cleft Palate Anomalies
15 November 2019 — San Francisco, CA: This fall, Alliance for Smiles(www.allianceforsmiles.org), the San Francisco-based global organization providing sustainable cleft-palate treatment and support worldwide, continued its global missions with trips to China, Egypt, Guatemala and the Philippines. From November 15 – 21, the Rotary-founded organization returns to Nigeria, undertaking a series of teaching and medical missions. 2019 marks 15 years working in 15 countries for Alliance for Smiles having served over 7000 young people.
“We are proud to have established an Alliance for Smiles treatment center in Lagos with our partners who share in our commitment to comprehensive cleft care,” said Alison Healy, Executive Director of Alliance For Smiles. “With our partnership, patients can be seen at any stage of their 16 year average recovery for speech therapy, orthodonture, or surgery. Moreover, while we are training our partners in this complex and long term care, we know that they will soon be experienced enough to be autonomous. This is a unique program which drives increased capacity in country regardless of economic challenges.”
In 2017, the Lagos State University Treatment Hospital (LASUTH) was identified as a potential Alliance for Smiles treatment center for cleft lip and palate by Smiles Barbara Fisher who previously had visited the hospital as the leader of an Alliance for Smiles surgical team. An essential collaboration with Dr. Deinde Shoga, president of Lagos Rotary District 10, had been established during several Alliance for Smiles surgical missions to Nigeria and was a major factor in choosing that hospital.
The local team of specialists consisting of a plastic surgeon, an orthodontist, a speech pathologist, a nurse coordinator, a dietitian/nutritionist, anesthesiologists and other allied professionals are now meeting regularly as an interdisciplinary team, discussing the cleft children’s treatment needs and providing treatment as needed.
“Our Alliance for Smiles team has visited the hospital every six months for a total of five times,” said Healy, noting that every visit has been supported by all three partners. “Dr. Shoga and his Rotary District 10 support have been essential to the functioning of the cleft team and have covered the expenses for surgical procedures. “
Earlier this year, Alliance for Smiles procured a new top of the line Panorex/ Ceph-X radiography system. It was installed at the hospital, providing free services for children in treatment by the cleft team. Alliance for Smiles expects that as the team gains more experience and recognition and regular support, the number of children receiving comprehensive treatment will increase significantly from the current level of 60 to 80.
In addition to organizing and sending two-week medical missions of surgical teams comprised of approximately 15 medical volunteers, supported by approximately 5 non-medical volunteers to a country, Alliance for Smiles also works side-by-side with local medical practitioners to exchange ideas on proper medical techniques and procedures, as well as to provide follow-up care. Additionally, the organization also works to build sustainability in country, through the establishment and maintenance of Medical Treatment Centers that provide follow-up and continuing care to children who receive surgery.
Alliance for Smiles provides care to all patients, regardless of sex, age, economic status, educational background, race, color, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity or marital status.
In October 2004, Alliance for Smiles was founded by five members of the Rotary Club of San Francisco: Past Presidents, John Uth, Anita Stangl, Jim Patrick, and Jim Deitz and long-time Club Member John Goings. The ongoing support of the Rotary International Community is still key to the success of Alliance for Smiles. Fondly known as “people of action”, Rotarians associated with Alliance for Smiles hope to eventually setting up multi-disciplinary international cleft treatment centers in underserved countries around the world, and exchange ideas on proper medical techniques and procedures.
“Traditional international efforts to repair cleft lips and palates have consisted of small teams that perform surgical procedures to correct defects,” Healy says. “However, the initial surgery only addresses one part of the problem. Cleft patients require ongoing treatment in the disciplines of dentistry, orthodontia, speech therapy and sometimes psychological counseling.”
Current Alliance for Smiles Medical Missions:• November 2 — 16, 2019 – Wenzhou China, Teaching Mission• November 3 — 17, 2019 – Aswan, Egypt Medical Mission • November 15 – 21, 2019 — Lagos, Nigeria Medical Mission
Learn more at: www.allianceforsmiles.org