Children born out of consanguineous marriages are more prone to cleft lip and palate, a common congenital malformation of the body, said doctors at the launch of a health program called Anamaya, in the city recently. They claimed that this defect was prevalent in the country, especially the Southern region, as the practice of consanguineous marriage is widely prevalent here. However, this can be prevented, they felt.
In order to create awareness about these factors and the preventive measures, Dr Sreekala, along with her team of Chennai-based doctors, including oral and maxillofacial surgeons, orthodontist, oral pathologist, pediatrician and geneticist, launched Anamaya, which means healthy baby in Sakskri.
The main objective of this program is to lend a helping hand to those suffering from the disorder, and to prevent and eradicate it completely by creating awareness among young women.
The program was officially launched in the presence of Maria Tolarova, a pediatrician from San Francisco, who is a pioneer in the field of cleft research and started a program called Pacific Cleft Prevention Program.
The organisers of Anamaya have joined hands with her to start this Indo-Pacific Cleft Lip prevention program.
It is said that this congenital anomaly can happen due to several factors like genetic, socio-economic, maternal nutrition and environmental. Keeping aside the environmental factors, it is said that all other factors are preventable and Indian women are more susceptible to these preventable factors.
“Cleft lip and palate has largely been ignored in India. In most cases, the parents are unaware of the reason behind this defect. It is not only the physical aspect but also the emotional aspect attached to this that makes the child feel inferior. So, raising awareness and taking preventive measures is our motto,” said Sreekala, while pointing out the recent initiative taken by the Tamil Nadu government to provide folic acid and iodine supplements to pregnant women.
As a part of the program, medical camps are being planned all over the country in rural areas were the percentage of cases is more, in collaboration with Rotary 3230.
Apart from this, free treatment is being provided by hospital partners like SRM Ramapuram, Meenakshi Dental College and VK Hospital. One more reason behind this measure is the cost of medication which is huge in this case.
“Even in India, it costs about $6,000 for surgery and medication. Since it involves care at every stage of the child’s growth from the age of 1 to 13, it is expensive. That is why we raise awareness to prevent it,” said Sreekala, who is confident of taking this program across the country and eradicating the disorder.