Parents are often shocked when they see their baby’s cleft. They may have difficulty accepting the defect, especially if this is the first time they have heard of or seen it. They may feel horrified, guilty, and anxious about their child’s future.
Parents may reject their infant by trying to hide her or even abandoning her to others’ care believing their child is cursed. Parents may not understand why their child has a cleft. Strong traditional beliefs and lack of education lead some parents to think the baby is being punished for their own misdeeds. Such beliefs may cause overwhelming stress, guilt, and shame, and thus impair the parents’ ability to react properly. Parents sometimes deny the seriousness of an open cleft. Other parents panic and reject their cleft infant completely. Parents at times do not come to the surgery, even when the cost is paid by charitable organisations, because the situation is just too overwhelming.
Due to the cleft in the lip or palate, the infant usually cannot be fed directly from the mother’s breast. The cleft prevents the creation of a vacuum needed for suckling to adequately stimulate the flow of milk. Feeding an infant with cleft can be very tiring for the child and frustrating for the parents.
Our Foundation Community Healthcare Officers provide counselling and support services by:
• Providing emotional support by educating parents not to give up on their children
• Providing Feeding, Nursing & Nutrition advice
• Providing financial and administrative advice and guidance towards free healthcare services
• Providing medical and financial assistance for cleft children with other medical conditions e.g. Tuberculosis, hole in the heart
• Providing free transportation and accommodation for underprivileged families
Emotional Support. Educating parents not to give up on their children, providing counselling for children and families to help them deal with emotional issues that often accompany these conditions.
Providing transportation and acommodation for underprivileged families