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Bangladesh Project Update - Visit to GOSH

I am Nargis Jahan Lia working as a Speech and language Therapist in CLEFT/ Comprehensive Cleft and Craniofacial Centre in Sheikh Hashina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery (SHNIBPS), DMCH, Dhaka- Bangladesh since March 2016. Collaboratively I have to work here with Plastic Surgeons, Coordinator of CLEFT, Orthodontics, Cleft nurse and Anesthesiologist in MDT approach.

Before joining here I was working as Clinical Speech- language Therapist (SLT) in Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP). In February, 2016 I got the opportunity to work in the Copmprehensive Cleft and Craniofacial Centre in NIBPS Dhaka medical college with Mr. Brian Sommerlad. I'm thankful and grateful to Mr. Brian, to Professor Abul Kalam and also to Assistant Professor Mohammad Rabiul Karim Khan Papon who has inspired me to take this job. I am also Greatful to Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, Professor Sazzad Khondokar and Professor Rayhana Awal in many ways of getting this opportunity.

There are approximately 300,000 cleft lip and palate (CLAP) child sufferers in Bangladesh amongst a population of 120 million and most of them live in rural areas. They don’t even have a clue about the treatment of this condition. If some of them know about the surgery, but they don’t know anything about the Speech- language Therapy Services, which is very important for proper speech-language development and also to minimize the feeding difficulties of the cleft child.

After surgery the children may suffer with Velo Pharyngeal Dysfunction (VPD). During that time SLT diagnosis and intervention is needed for cleft speech characteristics. SLT will investigate VPD with perceptual Speech Analysis, Lateral Video Fluoroscopy, Nasoendoscopy, Nasometry and MRI. Than SLT will recommend the child for effective treatment to either Speech-language therapy or Speech surgery or Speech Prosthetics by discussing with the Plastic surgeon and Orthodontics. Also SLT will monitor and take necessary intervention decisions for swallowing- feeding and hearing.

Speech and Language Therapy is a new profession in Bangladesh. It’s a 5 year Bachelor in Science (full-time four-year program plus one year compulsory internship) program under the faculty of Medicine University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Though there is no post-graduation course to become a specialist in Cleft SLT. So it was really a great opportunity for me to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital for children (GOSH) in the UK to learn more about Cleft speech-language Therapy. Now I’m more confident that I can provide better service though there are some instrumental limitations in our country, like Nasoendoscopy, Nasometry, EPG, some other equipment, but hopefully we’ll get those soon.

I’m really thankful to Ms. Marrie Pinkstone, Dr. Debbie sell, Nicole Prendeville, Lauren Baillie, Natali, and the whole Speech- Language therapy Department and also to other Dept in GOSH who helped me a lot to learn something special for our cleft center of the hospital as well as my country. I’m also thankful to CLEFT charity and to the Emirates Airlines Foundation who have given me such a wonderful opportunity. Thanks to all of you.


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