NGO trains journalists on slot, management, awareness

On Thursday, non-governmental organization Smile Train trained journalists to improve their understanding of stigma and discrimination related to cleft lip and palate differences in Nigeria.

The training should enable journalists to identify their role in reporting positively and responsibly on issues related to cleft lip and palate in Nigeria.

The eleven (11) journalists who participated in the two-day training held at Oakland Hotel, Enugu were drawn from different print and broadcast media, including online news platforms and blogs in the area southeast of the country.


In a welcoming address, the Program Director, West and Central Africa, Dr Nicole Bouba represented by Mr Paul Lobi, said the training was aimed at orienting journalists to the extent of the problem of the difference in slot into regional, national and international contexts.

He then urged attendees to show their commitment to raising awareness that cleft is not caused by witchcraft or maternal promiscuity, but caused by predicted genetic position, environmental exposures like drug use. and alcohol, smoking, maternal diseases, infections and vitamin deficiency. B9 (folic acid).

Dr Ifeanyichukwu Onah, head of Enugu State Orthopedic Hospital, said cleft is mainly caused by poor diet. He then instructed women to prepare for nutrition before getting pregnant to avoid having split babies.

He further instructed journalists to always consult the parents of the cleft patient before forwarding their personal data and images to the media to avoid stigmatization.

Speaking earlier, SmileTrain Africa PR and Communications Manager Emily Manjeru said the training on the theme: “Media as a real tool to demystify the slot” was held in the part of efforts to ensure that everyone born with a cleft lives a full and healthy life.

She then urged journalists to promote the voice of patients with surgical diseases (cleft lip and palate differences) through their media outfits.

Manjeru, then advised the journalists to take the training in their states as well, adding that the community has provided all the necessary equipment and funding for free for quality treatment and care for cleft patients.

Christine E. Phillips