Partners in African Cleft Training (PACT) is an international cleft lip and palate training program to improve and expand access to cleft lip and palate care in sub-Saharan Africa.
This unique initiative trains health professionals in Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria to treat cleft lip and palate and to develop local education programs. Participants care for children in their own clinics and train fellow providers in their countries and in other African nations.
The program began as a collaboration between Seattle Children’s Hospital and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana.
Dr. Michael Cunningham, medical director of Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center, and Dr. Richard Hopper, the center’s surgical director, partnered with Dr. Peter Donkor of KATH to promote team-based care for children with cleft and craniofacial disorders through shared educational and clinical activities. From 2007 to 2011, the program was known as Seattle–Kumasi Advocates for Team Care in Africa (SKATCA). Hospitals in Nigeria and Ethiopia hosted trainings, and the program was renamed Partners in African Cleft Training (PACT).
Since its founding in 2007, the program has trained more than 90 African healthcare providers from nations including Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. See the list of trainers and participants (PDF).
Seattle Children’s Takes Cleft Training to Africa
Drs. Michael Cunningham and Richard Hopper of Seattle Children’s discuss how Partners in African Cleft Training (PACT) is creating a sustainable environment for African healthcare professionals to become self-sufficient in treating cleft cases.
Interdisciplinary Approach to Cleft Care
PACT emphasizes the same interdisciplinary approach used at Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center and has received international praise for its effectiveness and quality of care.
- Surgical techniques
- Nurse anesthetist training
- Speech language therapy
- Feeding techniques
Specialized training centers in sub-Saharan Africa
PACT is now working to develop three specialized training centers in sub-Saharan Africa that will serve as models of interdisciplinary team cleft care for future African providers and new teams. This next phase of PACT will build on the strong foundations already in place and will serve as the valuable next step in establishing independent African centers where interdisciplinary team cleft care and education can take place.
The specialized training centers are based on priorities identified by African cleft providers:
- Cleft surgical techniques – Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana. Dr. Peter Donkor, PACT site director.
- Cleft anesthesia techniques – University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, Nigeria. Dr. H.O. Olasoji, PACT site director.
- Cleft speech pathology – Yekatit 12 Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr. Mekonen Eshete, PACT site director.
PACT is dedicated to creating a quality, Africa-based model where local interdisciplinary cleft teams objectively assess their outcomes and ensure quality of results.
Upcoming PACT trainings
Ways to Help
With your support, we can train more African providers – and help many more African children with cleft lip and palate. Designate your donation to Partners in African Cleft Training. Thank you.
Contact Jerrie Bishop, program support manager, Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center at 206-987-4572 for more information.