Hasbani Launched the National Awareness Campaign on Congenital Malformations of the Oral Cavity
Deputy Prime Minister Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani launched the national awareness campaign on the congenital malformation of the oral cavity, i.e. cleft lip, during a ceremony held at the premises of the Ministry in the presence of the President of the Syndicate of Private Hospitals Sleiman Haroun, The Director of the Medical Care Directorate Dr. Joseph El-Helou, the Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) Dr. Jamal Hoballah, Head of Global Smile Foundation Ramzi Hafez, Head of the Division of Plastic Surgery at the AUBMC Dr. Ghassan Abou Sitta, Dr. Bernard Gerbeka, GSF-MENA ambassador Ms. Clemence Ashkar and other stakeholders.Ms. Achkar stated that no mother accepts that her child suffers from a negative perception or a social exclusion due a problem that can be solved. I will put all the possible efforts to shed light on this issue and give more hope to our families and a prettier smile to our children. “The campaign launched last year by Global Smile Foundation was successful at many levels, since it drew the attention of the people to congenital malformation of the oral cavity and the ways it could be treated,” Ms. Achkar added.
Dr. Abou Sitta explained that the congenital malformation of the oral cavity is a congenital defect in the formation of the face and mouth and the most common congenital deformity. These conditions occur in 5 to 9-week- old fetus, when the face and the upper lip start to develop. The incidence of cleft deformities varies from 1/600 to 1/700 live births.
Mr. Ramzi Hafez stated that the foundation performed 3 surgeries during the first year of its establishment in 2014, the next year 15 surgeries and 100 surgeries in 2016. Nowadays, hundreds of applications are submitted to Global Smile Foundation. “This deformity is not only aesthetic, but also mechanic, social and human; its solution is simple and requires a handful of dollars and awareness to tell the society that this issue is not incurable,” he added.
Dr. Jamal Hoballah said that our region is vulnerable to such condition (1-2 per thousand live births). He stressed that there are ways for treatment that requires a medical team and experts in different fields; reconstructive and plastic surgery, ENT, oral and dental surgeries, anesthetics, pediatrics, speech therapy and psychiatry. Dr. Hoballah elaborated on the AUBMC’s experience, and thanked the Ministry and the charitable associations for their continuous support.
In his speech, Minister Hasbani cited some statistics from the National Information Network that show that the cleft lip represents 10% of the congenital malformations. They are due to the lack of acid folic consumption during pregnancy (28%) and this responsibility involves the mother and the doctor, and the consanguineous marriage (37%), in addition to the negative impact of smoking and other diseases.
Hasbani noted that the Ministry has provided support to many surgeries in more than 20 hospitals in Lebanon, 6 of them governmental hospitals during the last years as follows: