IASI, Romania, September 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Romania Helps Draft EU Standards for Early Care of Cleft Lip/Palate
In many European countries, parents of babies born with cleft lip/ palate in are told by health professionals to place their child in institutions, through lack of understanding of the straightforward care (such as simple feeding techniques) required during the first months of life. Today marks a triumphant milestone for these children and their families; representatives from several countries including Romania are meeting in Vienna, Austria to produce the first-ever set of EU-wide guidelines for the care of babies born with the condition.
Cleft means 'split' or 'separation': during pregnancy separate areas of the face develop individually and if some parts do not join properly the result is a cleft. The condition is completely treatable, and with the right care, children born with clefts can go on to achieve the same as any other child. Efforts over the last two years by former the European Cleft Organisation (http://www.ecoonline.org) finally resulted in the nod from Brussels, and their work has already resulted in further education.
Mariana is a 7 year-old Romanian girl born with a very wide cleft lip and palate and her reconstruction was always going to be a challenge. Despite being operated several times, Mariana did not have a complete closure of her cleft. ECO was contacted, when the doctors looking after her didn't find any other methods to reconstruct the defect left in the palate. ECO helped them to get in touch with surgeons from other centers who experience with such challenging cases. Mariana is now in a programme where the treatment is scheduled and there are positive results.
Romanian plastic surgeon Dr Radu Spatarov, a spokesperson for ECO says: "This is a great opportunity to get cleft lip and palate on the health agenda throughout Europe. The development of a standard should reduce the number of children abandoned because they are born with a cleft. The framework could become a model for other conditions, not just in Europe, but across the globe."
Romania, Bulgaria, Austria, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Belgium, Finland and the UK are sending delegates to the meeting. The committee will deliver a report with guidelines for referral processes, establishment of feeding, and parental support. The report can be used as an empowering tool, enabling patients groups to lobby for changes to deliver best practices.
SOURCE European Cleft Organisation